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The origins of Coats can be traced to the Clark and Coats families that created the weaving and textile industries of Paisley, Scotland during the late 18th century.
Patrick Clark’s pioneering discovery is placed on the market
Clark's 3-ply sewing thread, using twisted cotton yarns as a cheaper, more readily available alternative to silk, is first placed on the market.
James Coats establishes the first Ferguslie mill in Paisley
During this period, and with the advent of the industrial revolution, the Coats and Clark firms were at the forefront of the mechanisation of the textile industries in Scotland.
Starting to build a global footprint
Both the Clark and Coats firms are prospering, selling high quality sewing cotton around the world. They begin sending members of their families to America to act as selling agents.
First listing on the London Stock Exchange
In 1890, Coats’ initial share offering takes place on London Stock Exchange. In 1896, the Coats and Clark firms merge to form J&P Coats Ltd, with a market value of around £22 million, over 50,000 employees worldwide, and approximately 25,000 shareholders.
One of the largest listed companies in the world
By now J&P Coats is growing into one of the world's largest company’s – at one point it was ranked by market capitalisation ($300.8 million) after US Steel and Standard Oil.
1900s – 1980s
A growing, global presence
Coats' global presence and product range continue to grow throughout the 20th century as the company leveraged its roots as one of the first multinational companies to further strengthen its global network of commercial relationships and local knowledge.
1980s – 1990s
A challenging period for the textile industry
The final decades of the twentieth century saw a decline in manufacturing, and Coats had to adapt to new conditions to survive. In 1986, a merger with Vantona Viyella creates Coats Viyella. In the 1990s, Coats Viyella acquires Tootal Thread, a major global thread company, Rowan yarns, an upscale knitting yarn brand, and Barbour Thread, a leading speciality thread manufacturer.
A change in ownership
At the turn of a new century, Coats is acquired by Guinness Peat Group and delisted from the London Stock Exchange. A period of reorganisation and move of the manufacturing base from West to East begins.
A refocus on growth
Paul Forman appointed Chief Executive to put in place a new strategy that is orientated around growth and developing new products and services.
New opportunities, long heritage
Digital products such as Coats Colour Express, the world’s fastest colour sampling service, launched, and new, growing markets such as fibre optics entered. Coats & Clark marked its 200th anniversary in the US.
A return to the London stock market
Coats returns to the market as 'Coats Group plc', 125 years after its first listing on the London Stock Exchange. The first acquisition is made on services firm GSD.
Acquisitions and new product launches
As part of its growth strategy, the company acquires software solutions company Fast React Systems and high-performance materials manufacturers Gotex. Coats continues to develop products to solve customer problems. One example is Synergex, a carbon composite product range with applications for automotive and aerospace industries.
Moving from an industrial to a digital age
Rajiv Sharma is appointed as new Chief Executive. Rajiv Sharma and Coats enter the FTSE 250 index of UK companies with a market capitalisation of +£1bn Acquisitions continue with deal for Patrick Yarn Mill, a manufacturer of high-performance engineered yarns from renewable energy based in North Carolina, US.
Launch of Innovation Hubs
Coats launches three new Innovation Hubs in North Carolina, US; Bursa, Turkey; Shenzhen, China. The Innovation Hubs will develop pioneering new products and processes in Apparel, Footwear and Performance Materials. The hubs will provide creative and inspiring spaces for innovative ideas to develop, collaborating directly with customers and our R&D technologists in the idea generation and creation and prototype designs can be piloted.
Investment in Twine Technology, Acquisition of Threadsol and Launch of Coats Digital
First stand-alone revolutionary sustainable digital thread dyeing technology which uses waterless dyeing. Launch of Coats Digital, an integrated technology business that brings together all Coats software solutions under a new single brand, including acquisitions of GSD, FastReact and ThreadSol.
Acquisition of Pharr HP
The acquisition of Pharr HP expands Coats' existing manufacturing capabilities and enhances its operational footprint in Americas to deliver high-performance solutions for Performance Materials business.
Coats joins forces with Ellen MacArthur Foundation and commits to Net-Zero emissions
Sustainability is core to the Coats strategy. Becoming a member of the foundation enables Coats to join the conversation on circular economy and collaborate with other organisations to achieve our sustainability goals. Coats commits to long-term targets to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Acquisition of Texon and Rhenoflex
Acquisition of Texon and Rhenoflex, strengthening Coats' presence in athleisure and structural components to the global footwear market.
Launch of new state-of-the-art Sustainability Hub in Madurai
To further progress Coats' sustainability commitment, it has launched a new spinning and twisting pilot plant in Madurai, India focussing on material transition and recycled, renewable materials.