YPB enters new market with apparel contract

Australia-listed YPB has won a contract to add its tracer technology into cotton used by a leading clothing company.

Hong Kong-based Esquel Group – billed as the world’s largest supplier of woven shirts – will use YPB’s anti-counterfeit fibre on in cotton used for two of their “major brand clients,” according to a YPB stock exchange statement.

The identity of the brands hasn’t been revealed, but Esquel makes cotton garments for labels such as Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Brooks Brothers, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, J Crew, Anta, Nike, Muji and others.

It’s a modest contract to begin with – valued at 100,00 RMB (around $15,000 US) – but the company says it “anticipates further orders based on unit volumes”, and that other brands supplied by Esquel will join the scheme.

Once the tracer fibres are incorporated into a garment, they can be detected using YPB’s scanner, and that gives the brand “the ability to identify counterfeit products and confirm authenticity throughout the supply chain through either stock take processes or simple spot checks,” says YPB.

The deal takes YPB into a new industry vertical alongside its current activities in sectors like food and beverage, cannabis products, electronics, personal care, security documents and automotive.

It also brings it into close competition with other brand protection companies targeting textiles, including Applied DNA Sciences (APDN) which has been making strenuous efforts to drive take-up of its DNA marker technology in the cotton, leather and synthetic fabrics sectors.

YPB’s chief executive John Houston said: “Cotton shirts are among the world’s most counterfeited items. Brands spend millions of dollars building a market profile of quality and trust with their consumers that is undermined by counterfeit products along with the opportunity cost of sales revenue that goes to the counterfeiters.”

He added: “Working with Esquel gives us potential access to hundreds of major brands and is one of the best distributor partners that we could hope for in the garment market.”

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