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File photo shows some sample pieces of wood furniture to be made by Otobi, which might hit the local market by September.Photo: STAR
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The country's leading furniture maker Otobi is set to introduce solid wooden household furniture by September this year to capture a major part of the consumers who remain out of its reach for not offering them the wooden ones.

The over Tk 150 crore company said it invests about Tk 30 crore to implement this project, which eyes also the global market.

“We have found that there is a significant portion of consumers who trust Otboi and expect the furniture made from solid wood from us,” said Sabbir Hasan Nasir, chief executive of Otobi Ltd, referring to one of its internal researches conducted in the last two years.

The company still makes furniture based mainly on laminated or melamine board and medium density fibre.

Otobi's move to come up with solid wood furniture unveiled at a time when there is an apprehension that the growth of the around Tk 1500 crore sector might be downward due mainly to the erosion of consumers' purchasing capacity amid soaring prices of essentials and a slow down in the country's investment flow.

According to the industry insiders, it experienced about 4 percent average growth in the last five years.

The surging price of wood, especially teak, has also created concerns among the existing operators.

Industry players observed that the company might experience difficulties in keeping the prices of wooden furniture within the affordable limit of customers, if it uses conventional woods such as teak.

Otobi, however, hoped that the slump in the sector would not affect it pointing to the fact that it has recorded a double-digit growth when the economy is on the downturn.

The company said it would try to use various local woods instead of the imported ones.

“We believe in our internal culture that promotes innovation. And our people know how to attract different consumer segments through proper designs,” Sabbir said, expecting that the venture would succeed.

Otobi's wooden furniture would hit the market by September, he said with conviction.

“Part of our capacity will be used for the export of our solid wood furniture to different countries and economies are more immune against the global stagflation,” he said.

Exporting now to India, the company is also looking for other foreign markets to expand its horizon, the CEO said.

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