Masks "made in Salamanca" to stop the coronavirus

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A small textile company in Béjar began producing them in March to supply the national market. Since then, it has sold more than two million units.

Year 2005 is remembered as the Chinese "dumping" in the Spanish textile trade. That year, the sector was liberalized throughout the world, which led to the massive entry of articles from the Asian giant and other countries such as India or Pakistan at prices much cheaper than those produced in Spain given that its labor regulations, much more relaxed, it allowed them to save on costs. The effect of this liberalization was tremendous and many Spanish textile companies were forced to close down due to the impossibility of competing at those prices. Among the companies that managed to survive were Sánchez Textile Fibers (Textol), a small family company from the Salamanca town of Béjar (Salamanca) With more than 30 years of life that now, in addition to sheets or blankets, has made the leap to the manufacture of the most demanded product today: masks.

At the beginning of the year, with the arrival from China of the first news about deaths from the coronavirus, the company begins to entertain the idea of ​​producing masks. "We thought something big was going to happen in Spain and that it was an opportunity that we had to take advantage of," they explain from the company. A good idea is essential for a business. But having the money to get it done is almost more important. Therefore, Textol looked for an industrial and financial partner. He found it in the company ICW Holding, which provided the necessary resources, 850.000 euros -although the total planned investment is 1,5 million euros-, with which to start Mascarillas Bejar.

With this first disbursement, Textol acquired a machine in China - "There is no other place to buy it at this time", they clarify - to get going. Started producing approved three-layer surgical masks in mid-March, at a rate of between 80.000 and 140.000 units per day, and sales came from the first moment. "Until now, we have sold more than two million units. All through our website and all to individuals. We do not have any great agreement with hospitals or other organizations ”, they explain from the company, which will soon begin to sell outside of Spain. A success that they attribute not only to the high demand that exists at this time for the product, but also to the mask itself that they offer. “People are very aware of the issue of Spanish and European manufacturing. It is a brand of guarantee and quality, in the face of the doubts that are offered to many by some of those who come from China ”, they assure from the company. Its price, VAT included, is below the 0,96 euros per unit set by decree by the Government. The box of 100 units, the smallest, is offered on its website at 0,91 euros each mask with taxes included.

Employment

The mask business has not only allowed the firm to keep its activity going, it has also skyrocketed it. Before starting it, six people worked in his factory. Since the production of these items started, between the factory and the care of the employees, the company has created 18 jobs. But when the new machines arrive On May 22, the company will increase its factory staff by 26 to set up three 24-hour production shifts that will work from Monday to Sunday. The company hopes to have in mid-June six machines installed that will allow you to increase your production to between 600.000 and 700.000 masks per day, which will allow them to increase their workforce to 60 personnel by then.

Although Textol assures that it will remain focused on its traditional textile business going forward, it also admits that the mask division is here to stay. “It is true that it is a high volume, low profitability business. But we firmly believe that it is vital that this textile health industry does not depend exclusively on China, "they say. “We aspire for our market to be Europe, not just Spain. And we believe that Europe wants to have European manufacturers ”, they assure from the company.

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