Triumph International AG

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

Triumph International AG
Type Public
Genre Intimate apparel & sleepwear
Founded 1886
Founder(s) Braun & Spiesshoffer
Headquarters Germany
Area served worldwide
Key people Jan Rosenberg, Chairman of the Board
Industry Apparel manufacture and distribution
Products women's intimates and apparel; casual clothing
Revenue USD 1,600,000,000 (2006) [1]
Employees > 41,000 [2]
Parent Triumph International AG (HQ)
Subsidiaries Triumph International (national locations)
Website http://www.triumph.com

Triumph International AG is a manufacturer of lingerie and sleepwear for women and men. Its products are marketed under such brand names as Form & Beauty, Amourette, BeHappy, Triaction, Slipi, Sloggi, Mamabel, Night & Home, BeeDees and HOM. Although founded in Germany, the company is now headquartered in Switzerland. Triumph Int. AG is a German-based firm publicly traded on the FRA; however, Triumph International privately owned in its entirety by the family Spiesshofer & Braun and based out of Switzerland.

Company History

In 1886, founders Braun and Spiesshoffer started operations in a barn in Heubach, Germany. The name "Triumph" was registered as trademark in 1902 and became Europe's largest corsetry manufacturer during the 1930s. In 1933, the company opened its first international branch in Zurzach, Switzerland, where the global holding company is based today. After World War II, the expansion continued in Norther Europe, and on to Southern Europe, Asia and the Middle East during the 1960s. The corporate structure was decentralized, a business strategy that enabled customers in each country to be served by locally based designers and business partners with particularly strong commitments to regional fashion trends and cultural conditions. During the 1970s, the company entered the Brazilian markets, took over ´House of Jenynsª in Australia and launched licensing production in South Africa. Production, sales and export subsidiaries were founded in the Philippines and Thailand, together with licensed sales operations in Indonesia and a subsidiary in Chile; production works in China followed in 1980. In the last fifteen years, the company has added countries, including Uruguay, Canada, New Zealand, Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and in Eastern Europe, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Russia. It has established production plants with ultra-modern technology in Bangkok and Morocco, and - heralding the opening of the Chinese market - opened branches in Shanghai and Peking, while continuing to operate its first production plant in Heubach.[3]

Historical Financial Information

Business Strategy

Year over year, Triumph International AG has seen revenues remain relatively flat ($371.4M to $368.6M), though the company was able to grow net income from $15.1M to $15.9M. A reduction in the percentage of sales devoted to selling, general and administrative costs from 23.68% to 21.84% was a key component in the bottom line growth in the face of flat revenues.[4] The companies expansion has historically been based on geographical decentralization.[5] As of the mid-1990s, the company's decentralization was considered unique: "Triumph is the only international brand to be marketed and manufactured locally."[6]

Political and Public Influence

While Triumph International AG has not made any contributions to political campaigns or any lobbying expenditures in the U.S., it's political influence is evident in the countries where it manufactures its goods, in which court decisions regularly favor the company over workers and their unions in labor disputes.[7]

No information has been found on Triumph's unions in Germany.

Corporate Accountability

The decentralized nature of the Triumph company's operations, where each country in which it operates does so as a distinct entity from the others, makes generalizing about Triumph's corporate accountability practices difficult. However, despite nods to social responsibility and environmentalism in its European codes of conduct[8], the actual practices of the company which has increasingly concentrated its operations in the manufacturing sector are disappointing, demonstrating patterns of disregard for workers rights in Asia in particular.

Labor

Freedom of Association

Triumph's manufacturing plants are consistently anti-labor and courts in its Asian factories regularly rule in favor of the company over workers. In the fall of 2008, a Manila, Philippines court ruled that the Triumph workers did not have the right to strike as negotiations with the company began to collapse.[9] Triumph's labor woes are nothing new: Austrailian workers walked out in 1993 when it was announced that Triumph would move their operations to Asia, the site of the most recent labor conflicts at Triumph's plants.[10]

On July 29, 2008, Jitra Kotshadej, the president of the Triumph International Labor union, was terminated for “damaging” the reputation of Body Fashion Thailand, a subsidiary of Triumph International. This stemmed from a television appearance five months earlier when Kotshadej wore a shirt reading “Those who do not stand are not criminals. Thinking differently is not a crime,” a statement referring to the right to not stand when the royal anthem is played. From July 30 through September 13, the 2000 workers at Body Fashion staged a 45 day strike to reinstate Kotshadej. Triumph International took the case to court. Meanwhile, it agreed to rehire the workers who walked out in support of Kotchadej without disciplinary action, with one month’s back wages. However it refused to reinstate Kotchadej, only agreeing to pay her back-wages. Her dismissal was upheld by the court. On September 23, the labor court agreed to retry the case. Body Fashion will continue to pay her wages until her appeal is finalized. Kotshadej is awaiting retrial on November 17. Meanwhile, workers who participated in the strike are not being assigned work and are therefore denied much-needed bonuses.[11][12] [13] [14] [15]

For more information on the dispute involving Kotshadej's dismissal, see "Workers Fighting Back Against Triumph Lingerie" On August 2009, 1,660 workers of Triumph International (Philippines) will be laid off from in its factories in FTI, Bicutan. It is here that the union had been very strong.Similarly,nearly 50% of the workforce for Triumph's Thailand operations are to be laid off [16]. In Thailand and the Philippines the unions have been having a constant struggle with he management. The latest layoffs have been seen by many labour activists as using the ongoing economic crisis to weaken the unions.[17]


Campaigns:

  • 1999 dispute in Thailand: The labor union at Triumph International of Thailand Ltd. said in a statement Triumph had closed their factory in Bang Plee in the outskirts of Bangkok on July 17. They want the company to give them an 8% wage rise for the coming two years, according to officials from the labor ministry. The company, which makes swim suits, sportswear and lingerie under the Triumph brand, as well as for adidas, Jockey, and other brands, had informed their 5,000 workers management decided to cut their wage increases in the next three years. [18]
  • 1999 dispute in Philippines: BPMTI (Triumph union) went on strike last November 18, 1999 after reaching a deadlock on CBA negotiation. The union demands for a P140.00 total wage increase over the next three years with increase on other economic benefits, while the Company offered a CBA package of P45 wage increase without any additional on the current benefits. Union officials also expressed concern over the management's strategy to pattern its dealings with its Philippine workers with the labor dispute in its Thailand plant. Triumph International Philippines also manufactures for Marks & Spencer, Mast, and Victoria's Secret. [19]
  • 2001: protests against Triumph's refusal to quit production in Burma, including 1.5 km of barbed wire bras hung at the companies Belgian offices. Company closes factory in 2002.[20]
  • 2009: Triumph International (Philippines) Inc. and Star Performance Inc. factories in Taguig City will close. 1605 employees at the two factories and the 57 employees at their head office Makati City will be losing jobs as the company closes on August 28, 2009. [21].The company is also laying off 1,959 workers, Body Fashion (Thailand) the Triumph Thai Subsidiary. [22] In both the countries the unions have picketed the prodcution plants and continue to be protesting what is seen as illegal retrenchment.For more protest actions see "Triumph protest in Bangkok" and "Triumph International Philippines dismissed workers throwing bras in the air to demonstrate!". Also see "Statement of Triumph labour union in the Philippines"

Human Rights

Environment

"Triumph International's philosophy is that the environment should be given the same high level of importance as the company's economic and social concerns.In December 1998, Triumph received the Best Environment Management award from Austrian Industry not long after gaining ISO 14001 and EMAS certification.Triumph International AG Austria also received certification of its conversion to 'environmental-conscious innovations, ideas and production processes that represent all humanistic and ecological standards' under OEKO-TEC STANDARD 1000. The company was the first in Austria and the third in Europe to fulfill all the certificate's criteria," states on its website.[23]

Consumer Protection and Product Safety

Anti-Trust and Tax Practices

Social Responsibility Initiatives

Triumph International's Code of Conduct:

"As an internationally operating company, Triumph International employs staff all over the world. That's why we are aware of the exceptional responsibility borne by employers in the age of globalization. We've anchored this social responsibility in our Triumph Code of Conduct."[24]

Environmental Responsibility:

"As a global company we act responsibly with respect to our environment. And the application of ecological standards often turns out to be a source of innovations, both in the products themselves and in the manufacturing process. This is why we are constantly testing our environmental protection measures and rapidly implementing any new findings we make. Numerous programs integrate studies of environmental compatibility as well as the separation and recycling of waste, and we are also constantly looking into how we can make do with less packaging material. We also implement energy-saving concepts at all Triumph International locations in order to reduce CO2 emissions. As early as 2003, we were given the prestigious German B.A.U.M. Environmental Award for our many years of consistent commitment to environmental and consumer protection issues.

We also offer our consumers the chance to wear their environmental awareness next to their skin. We use the latest, ecologically certified materials for our collections. In addition, in 2008, the Triumph brand is presenting the first lingerie collection in biodegradable elastane. There is also a sloggi range in which the fabric has not only been medically tested for body compatibility and freedom from pollutants but is also manufactured from certified organic cotton – for our customers this means that quality of life is truly within their grasp."[25]

Business Scope

Triumph International operates numerous brands and distinct subsidiaries in each country in which it does business, with over 160 retail locations and 2000 individual stores. The Asia/regional operations are coordinated by Triumph International Overseas, headquartered in Hong Kong.[26] Triumph's products span women's intimates and casual apparel, though women's underwear accounted for 81% of the company's revenue in 2005. Triumph International AG manufactures these products and distributes them through its sole subsidiary, Triumph International Vertriebs-GmbH.[27]


Brands

  • Triumph
  • Sloggi
  • Bee Dees
  • Vaisere
  • HOM
  • Form & Beauty
  • Amourette
  • BeHappy
  • Triaction
  • Slipi
  • Mamabel
  • Night & Home

Customers

Suppliers

Company produces in a range of countries, including China, Malaysia, Hungary, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Vietnam, Tunisia, South Africa.

Identified suppliers:

Financial Information

Ticker Symbol: TRI
Main Exchanges:FRA:OTH
Investor Website:

In 1995, the shareholders of Triumph International (the privately held company) sold 92% of the company's shares to the lingerie producer, Maidenform, in exchange for $10million dollars and 28% of Maidenform's stocks, transferring majority control of Triumph International's board to the Maidenform board members.[28]


Shareholder % Total Shares held
Shareholder 1 % Held 1
Shareholder 2 % Held 2
Shareholder 3 % Held 3
Shareholder 4 % Held 4

Largest Shareholders

Triumph International operates in dozens of countries worldwide, its business divided geographically Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Austrailasia.[29] It's 2007 sales totaled 279,284,000 Euros (FYE Jan 08).[30] It also has a joint venture, Intimate Fashions, with MAST industries, the maker of Victoria's Secret apparel, and MAS Group, producing apparel in India.[31] Selected Country-Level Information

Country Revenue Sales Assets Employees
Hungary (2002) HUF 3.65B [32] Profit 1 Assets 1 Employees 1
Austrailia $39.3 million[33] Assets 2 140
USA in 2007: $100 million[34] Assets 3 475
New Zealand Revenue 4 $2.7 million in 2007[35] Assets 4 17
Germany (Triumph Int. AG - Headquarters) Revenue 4 $409.9 million in 2007[36] Assets 4 1488

Governance

Key People, Board members & affiliations

  • Jan Rosenberg, Chairman of the Board (previously marketing director)
  • Thorsten Allenstein, General Manager and Country Head of India
  • Ralph Jenson, Director-Triumph International Overseas, Executive Director-Triumph International

Triumph International (Swzland.):

While each of Triumph's companies are nationally located, they are all affiliated with Triumph International (Hong Kong, Ltd.), a publicly-traded corporation. However, members of the privately-held Triumph located in Switzerland, as well as other members of various other European-based affiliates of the Triumph companies, have interlocking decision-making powers with Triumph int. Hong Kong and other national affiliates. A 1995 agreement between Triumph Int (Swi) 's shareholders and the board of Maidenform created a shift in decision-holding powers of Triumph to the Maidenform board members while Maidenform gave the Triumph shareholders over a quarter of its voting stock.[37]

Contact Information

Promenadestrasse 24
Zurzach
Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (56) 269 91 91
Fax: +41 (56) 269 92 03
Web site: http://www.triumph.com

Articles and Resources

Books on the Company

Related SourceWatch Articles

Sources

  1. Triumph, Triumph International website, accessed July 2008.
  2. Triumph, Triumph International website, accessed July 2008.
  3. Triumph International, "Triumph International", Triumph International website, accessed July 2008.
  4. "Business Week: Triumph International AG" accessed Jan 2009
  5. ["http://faculty.washington.edu/krumme/papers/triumph.html Corporate Growth Through Spatial Decentralization: Triumph's Expansion Path,"] Paper presented at 22nd International Geographical Congress, Montreal 1972. Truncated version published in: Proceedings, International Geographical Union Congress, W.P.Adams and F.M.Helleiner, eds., University of Toronto Press, 1972, Vol.I, pp.554-556." ]Accessed Jan 2009
  6. "Triumph - 250% Growth in Sales" Sunday Times UK
  7. See Labor Section of this Article
  8. download from "code of conduct" section
  9. Kristine L. Alave. November 19, 2008. "Triumph Workers can't go on strike." accessed January 2009.
  10. Kerry Vernon. Nov 3, 1993. "Women Strike at Triumph International." GreenLeft Online.
  11. [1]
  12. http://www.cleanclothes.org/urgent/08-11-06.htm
  13. http://www.bangkokcompanies.com/asian_company_profiles/body_fashion.htm
  14. http://www.cleanclothes.org/urgent/08-08-25.html#action
  15. http://www.thailabour.org/tlc08en/?p=40
  16. [2]
  17. http://www.amrc.org.hk/news/atnc_monitoring_network_condemns_the_closure_and_layoffs_of_workers_at_triumph_internationals_p
  18. Asian Economic News 02/08/99
  19. BusinessWorld Philippines 10/01/00
  20. "Good news: Triumph closes factory in Burma!!!", Clean Clothes Campaign, January 28, 2002.
  21. [3]
  22. [4]
  23. Triumph International, "Environmental Protection", Triumph International website, accessed July 2008. (This is not a direct link).
  24. "Social Responsibility" accessed January 2009
  25. "Environmental Protection" accessed Jan 2009
  26. AmCham Vietnam accessed Jan 2009
  27. "Business.com: Triumph International Profile" Accessed January 2009.
  28. Schedule 14C accessed Jan 2009
  29. "Triumph Homepage" accessed January 2009
  30. Corporate Information: Triumph International AG" accessed Jan 2009
  31. [http://www.inrnews.com/realestateproperty/india/manufacturing/triumph_intl_sets_up_mfg_unit.html "Triumph International Sets up Manufacturing Unit in India, Near Chennai "] Sept. 3, 2007. INRnews.com. Accessed Jan 2009.
  32. "Triumph Revenue"
  33. Hoover's Online accessed Jan 2009
  34. Hoover's Online accessed Jan 2009
  35. Hoover's Online
  36. Hoover's Online
  37. SEC Info NCC Industries 14C Accessed Jan 2009

External Resources