ELICO to venture internationally


Needs new brand
The Ethio-Leather Industry Plc (ELICO) is to begin exporting shoes to European and American markets when its new shoe factory commences operation by the end of March 2013. It is also planning to transform its current brand name which is already registered internationally.
ELICO has only been exporting processed leather from sheep, goats and oxen, but it also produces high quality bags, clothes and other leather and garment products.
ELICO is constructing a factory at a total cost of 40 million birr on 100 square meter of land, at Awash Tannery located in Kaliti.
Upon completion, the factory will start producing 1,500 pairs of shoes per day. “We already have ordered 50,000 soles and other accessories at a cost of 5 million birr from Italy for the time being,” Brook Debebe, General Manager of Ethio-Leather Industry Plc informed Capital in an exclusive interview. Brook also said ELICO will eventually produce the soles it is currently importing. According to Brook, the shoes ELICO plans to produce will have three ranks destined to three different markets: the European and American markets, the African market and the local market.
The machinery for the shoe factory has been purchased by ELICO agent Florentine. Florentine procured various parts of the machinery from different companies and it would be assembled at the factory, according to the General Manager.
While striving to enter the top competitive markets in the world, ELICO has to acquire a new company name as well as new brand name for its shoes due to the fact that there is a registered Pennsylvanian shoemaker already using the brand name ELICO Shoe. “We are having discussions on the subject,” Brook said. “We could still use the name ELICO with some affixes, but it would be too long to be a brand name or mark. Therefore, we need to coin another mark.” 
ELICO is also hard at work to export its industrial gloves and hats made of leather to South Africa and Japan, respectively. “We have received an order for consignments of gloves already,” Brook informed Capital.
Ethiopia’s leather industry is growing at a fascinating pace with value-added leather products including footwear, gloves, bags, purses, wallets, belts and other finished leather goods destined to various markets in the world. International NGOs like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are cooperating with the government and companies involved in the leather industry to develop this sector. USAID alone has linked many shoe factories in Ethiopia with Brown Shoe, an American company, and helped them introduce their product in the US through this particular company.