The origins of Coats can be found in the Clark and Coats families, who created the textile and textile industries in Paisley, Scotland, in the late 18th century.
Clark’s three-ply sewing thread, which uses twisted cotton threads as a cheaper and more readily available alternative to silk, is the first to be commercialized.
During this period, and with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, Coats and Clark were at the forefront of the mechanization of Scotland’s textile industries.
Clark and Coats are thriving, selling high-quality sewing cotton around the world. They begin to send family members to the United States to act as sales agents.
In 1890, the initial Coats stock offering took place on the London Stock Exchange. In 1896, Coats and Clark merged to form J&P Coats Ltd, with a market value of around £ 22 million, more than 50,000 employees worldwide, and approximately 25,000 shareholders.
Currently, J&P Coats is becoming one of the largest companies in the world, at one point ranked by market capitalization (US $ 300.8 million), after US Steel and Standard Oil.
Coats’ global presence and product range continues to grow throughout the 20th century as the company built on its roots as one of the first multinational companies to further strengthen its global network of business relationships and local knowledge.
The last decades of the 20th century saw a decline in manufacturing, and Coats had to adapt to the new conditions to survive. In 1986, a merger with Vantona Viyella creates Coats Viyella. In the 1990s, Coats Viyella acquired Tootal Thread, a leading global yarn company, Rowan Yarns, a sophisticated brand of knitted yarns, and Barbour Thread, a leading manufacturer of specialty yarns.
At the beginning of a new century, Coats is acquired by the Guinness Peat Group and withdrawn from the London Stock Exchange. A period of reorganization and change of the manufacturing base begins from west to east.
Paul Forman appointed CEO to implement a new growth-oriented strategy and development of new products and services.
New digital products like Coats Color Express, the world’s fastest color sampling service, are offered and new growth markets like fiber optics enter. Coats & Clark celebrated its 200th anniversary in the United States.
Coats returns to the market as ‘Coats Group plc’, 125 years after its first listing on the London Stock Exchange. The first purchase is made at the service company GSD.
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 range of carbon composite products with applications for the automotive and aerospace industries.
Rajiv Sharma is appointed new Executive Director. Rajiv Sharma and Coats enter the FTSE 250 index of UK companies with a market capitalization of over £ 1bn. The acquisitions continue with an agreement for Patrick Yarn Mill, a manufacturer of renewable energy high performance engineering yarns in North Carolina, USA.