Coats Group

Coats Group plc is a British multi-national company. It is the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of sewing thread and supplies, and the second-largest manufacturer of zips and fasteners, after YKK. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Coats Group plc
Public limited company
Traded asLSE: COA
IndustryConsumer and intermediate goods
PredecessorPatons and Baldwins 
Founded1755 (1755)
HeadquartersUxbridge, Middlesex (UK)
Key people
Mike Clasper,[1] Chairman
Rajiv Sharma, CEO
Simon Boddie, CFO
ProductsTextile related
RevenueUS$1,414.7 million (2018)[2]
US$194.9 million (2018)[2]
US$58.2 million (2018)[2]


In 1755 James and Patrick Clark began a loom equipment and silk thread business in Paisley, Scotland.[3] In 1806 Patrick Clark invented a way of twisting cotton together to substitute for silk that was unavailable due to the French blockade of Great Britain. He opened the first plant for manufacturing the cotton thread in 1812.[3] In 1864 the Clark family began manufacturing in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., as the Clark Thread Co.[3]

In 1802 James Coats set up a weaving business, also in Paisley. In 1826 he opened a cotton mill at Ferguslie to produce his own thread[4] and, when he retired in 1830, his sons, James & Peter, took up the business under the name of J. & P. Coats.[4] The firm expanded internationally, particularly to the United States. In 1890 Coats listed on the London Stock Exchange,[4] with a capital base of £5.7 million.[4]

In 1952 J. & P. Coats and the Clark Thread Co. merged.[5] In 1961 a merger with Patons and Baldwins created Coats Patons.[4] In 1986 a merger with Vantona Viyella created Coats Viyella.[6] In 2003 Guinness Peat took Coats private and in 2015 the business returned to the market as "Coats Group".[7]


In 2007 Coats was fined €110 million by the European Commission for participation in cartels with Prym, YKK and other companies to fix and manipulate the prices of zips and other fasteners, and of the machinery to make them. One of the cartels ran for twenty-one years. An appeal in 2012 to the General Court of the European Union was dismissed, and the fine upheld.[8][9]


Further reading

  • Coats, Brian (2013). Seams Sewn Long Ago. The Story of Coats The Threadmakers. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1490408262.
  • Kim, Dong-Woon (Autumn 1994). From a Family Partnership to a Corporate Company: J. & P. Coats, Thread Manufacturers. 25. Textile History. p. 185–225.
  • Kim, Dong-Woon (Winter 1998). The British multinational enterprise in the United States before 1914: The case of J. & P. Coats. 72. Business History Review. p. 523–52.
  • Kim, Dong-Woon (Winter 1995). J. & P. Coats in Tsarist Russia, 1889–1917. 69. Business History Review. p. 465–494.
  • Kininmonth, Kirsten W. (October 2006). The growth, development and management of J. & P. Coats Ltd, c.1890–1960: An analysis of strategy and structure. 48. Business History. p. 551–579.
  • Knox, William W. (1995). Hanging by a Thread: The Scottish Cotton Industry, c. 1850–1914. Carnegie. ISBN 978-1859360118.
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