1944 - Dr A M Moolla became de facto Chairman of the family business, Mahomed Ismail & Company a small piece - goods wholesaler, which was based at 375 Pine Street, Durban, when his father passed away.
1955 - A clothing division was launched as ‘Kingsgate’ by Dr A M Moolla’s son-in-law and nephew, Dr Ahmed-Sadek Vahed, specializing in the manufacturing of shirts and schoolwear at 10/12 Albert Street.
The company opened its first manufacturing plant in Lorne Street in 1958, producing 600 shirts per day with a staff of 40. Rapid growth led to the manufacturing operations being relocated to larger premises in Commercial Road in 1959 where shirts, schoolwear, pyjamas, and women's underwear were produced.
A M Moolla (Pty) Ltd. was formed as a company in 1960.
Leopold Centre, home of the Group's head office, was purchased in 1959 and a ten-storey building erected. Adjoining land was purchased in 1961 and an additional ten floors built and combined with the existing structure in two phases by 1971, giving the head office an area exceeding 10,000m2.
Dr A M Moolla formed the A M Moolla Charity Trust in November 1959 to support deserving welfare, educational, and social causes.
1966 was a landmark year as the Group entered the Chain Store market for the first time.
1976 - When the idea of a new purpose-built school for the cerebral palsied was first mooted by the Spes Nova School Association, Dr Moolla pledged his financial support, and it is through his advice and support that the school got to finally open its doors on 14 January 1986.
In 1977, the University of Durban-Westville conferred the degree of Doctor Commercii, Honoris Causa on Dr A M Moolla in recognition of his inspired business leadership and social welfare service.
The Reunion Factory in Grey Street was purchased in 1978. The four-storey building was subsequently doubled and provided the Group with an additional 10,000 m2.
Dr A M Moolla passed away on 10 April 1980, at the age of 71. He was succeeded as Executive Chairman by his son-in-law and nephew Dr Ahmed-Sadek Vahed.
Dr Ismail Kathrada was appointed Administrator of the A M Moolla Charity Trust on 1 May 1980.
1980 - Mr Yacub Dhai, Dr Moolla’s son in law as well as Director and Head of the Manufacturing Division at the Reunion Factory, passed away on 21st October.
1980 - The Group celebrated its Silver Jubilee or 25th Anniversary. A special advertorial was featured as a supplement to The Buyer Magazine in November.
Kingsgate Clothing became known as the A M Moolla Group (AMM Group) in 1981.
"Ammdale Centre” at 242 Stamfordhill Road was purchased in 1982 and extended to accommodate its various marketing divisions, retail operations, finished goods and raw material warehouses, and the IT department.
Star Clothing Manufacturers (formerly known as Star Shirt and Clothing), including its subsidiary companies, Salt Of The Earth Creations and Antique Fashions, with brand names such as Smith and Wesson together with its entire collection, and production plant, the Hammarsdale Clothing factory, were all purchased in 1983.
1983 was momentous for another reason. Dr Ahmed-Sadek Vahed met with one of the leading fashion names in the world, Calvin Klein, in New York and, in a major coup for the Group, secured the “Calvin Klein” franchise ahead of long-established South African rivals.
The Isithebe factory, known as AMMPROPS, was built in 1985 as the Group decentralised production.
1987 - The Group developed its own unique model of forging relationships in terms of outsourcing work to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s). SMME’s are all external outsourced factories that are associated with the Group in terms of what the Group outsources to them outside of its own manufacturing facilities.
The Group made its inaugural entry into the export market in 1988 under the name “AMM Exports”. History was made in 1992 when the Group pioneered clothing exports to Russia by securing an order for USD 10 million.
The company received the “South African Non-Listed Company Award” in 1988. This award to the top non-listed company in the country was co-sponsored by Arthur Andersen and Co., Wits Business School, and Business Day.
The late Dr Ahmed – Sadek Vahed had the privilege of meeting former President Nelson Mandela, or Madiba to his followers, on three occasions. The first was at a gathering of business people at “Kings House” where they sat side-by-side for lunch.
1993 was momentous for the Group. Its business achievements were recognised through a hat-trick of awards: the “State President's Merit Award for Export Achievement”; “The Natal Mercury / British Airways Award for Business Excellence”; and the “Cotton Board Award” for outstanding support to the South African cotton industry.
The University of Durban-Westville conferred the degree of Doctor of Commerce on Ahmed-Sadek Vahed in 1994. In 1998 the University of Natal similarly recognized Dr Vahed's exceptional business acumen and accomplishments by honouring him with the degree of Doctor of Economics.
The Group entered the “Tenders” market in 1994, when it tendered for government parastatals, something denied to Black companies in the old regime. The company proved its mettle and during 1996/1997 and 1997/1998 was awarded the title of 'Supplier of the Year' by the South African Airforce and given the following specialized Achiever Awards: “Deliveries”; “Administration”; “Best Uniform Supplier”; and “Research and Development”.
AMM Exports was renamed New South Africa Garment Manufacturers (NSAGM), an apt designation following South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994.
With the advent of the new democratic South Africa in 1994 and emphasis being placed by Government on the upliftment of those from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, the Group reinform its own unique model of forging relationships in terms of outsourcing its work to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s). The smaller factories comprise between 20 to 30 employees and the bigger entities, between 250 to 300 employees, which are located largely across the KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State regions, particularly in the urban areas of the Ethekwini Municipality, extending all the way down South to places like Umzinto, Umkomaas and Port Shepstone, and up North towards areas like Kwa-Dukuza (Stanger), Mandeni, Nyoni and Isithebe, and inland / west into areas such Ladysmith and Newcastle, as well as Qwa Qwa, Botshabelo and Ficksburg.’
In 1995 the Group was chosen as “Exporter of the Year” by Coopers & Lybrand and the Sunday Tribune.
1996 - Another form of CMT outsourcing is a concept uniquely cultivated and developed by the Group called MBO’s or Management Buyouts. This concept is aimed at empowering the Group’s own longstanding employees with the relevant expertise to create a spirit of entrepreneurship and becoming owners of their own businesses by leasing to them plant and machinery, and rendering financial assistance on the proviso that they manufacture exclusively for the Group.
In the event that the Group is unable to provide sufficient work to keep the MBO’s production lines running, the arrangement is that they be given 2-months notice in order to be able to seek work elsewhere from other companies. Thus far, the Group is pleased to state that such a situation has never arisen particularly because of the Group’s strong presence in the marketplace and the efficacy of its marketing strategies that has helped make in-roads all across the country. The concept has proved very successful and today the Group has a total of five MBO factories in operation. The factories are paid immediately upon delivery of merchandise, either on a Thursday or Friday, Today, these MBO operators have brought their families into their businesses all of whom work diligently as a team in their own interests to ensure timeous deliveries and good quality merchandise in order for their businesses to be viable and profitable.
AMM Group was listed in the Clothing, Footwear and Textiles sector of the JSE Securities Exchange on 8 October 1997. In 1998 the new public entity made a strategic acquisition of Sterling Clothing (Pty) Ltd., which broadened the customer base.
Following the “King Report on Corporate Governance”, which advocated separating the roles of Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Yusuf Vahed was appointed CEO in 1997 and Dr Ahmed-Sadek Vahed, Executive Chairman of the Group.
On 21 October 1998, Coastal Group Limited made an unsolicited take-over bid on the Group. The bid was thwarted when an overwhelming 99.1% of shareholders rejected Coastal Group Limited's offer on 12 December 1998.
The Group continued to accrue awards for excellence: an Achiever Award from the South African Airforce for Research and Development (1998/1999); a “Diamond Arrow Award” in 1999 from Professional Management Review (PMR) for “Winning 3 Golden Arrow Awards” in 1998; Silver Arrow Award for “Best Emerging / Affirmative Company” and Golden Arrow Award for “Best in Manufacturing Clothing in KwaZulu-Natal” (1999) from PMR; and the “Select Sports Wholesalers Distribution Award for Service” from a retail customer in 2001.
The Group de-listed from the JSE at the end of February 2001 and reverted to being a private business owned by the A M Moolla Family. From March 2001 it was known as the Kingsgate Clothing Group (KCG).
2002 - When KCG de-listed from the JSE Securities Exchange in March 2001, the Executive Board unanimously committed itself to good Corporate Governance. The Executive Board subsequently affirmed its compliance with The Code of Corporate Practices and Conduct as enunciated in the March 2002 King II Report on Corporate Governance.
KCG was the first company to export out of the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa under the United States' African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In recognition of this achievement and the company's general expertise and understanding of the AGOA process, it received Visa No. 1 status in 2002 and was selected by the US Consular office in South Africa, on behalf of US Customs and Department of Trade, as the candidate company to conduct an AGOA training programme for the regulatory authorities of 18 Sub-Saharan African countries.
2003 saw the relocation of KCG’s Sterling division's marketing office from premises that were leased in Braamfontein in Central Johannesburg, to a property the Group purchased in Selby in the outskirts of Crown Mines, whereby a new Regional Office was established.
KCG celebrated its Golden Jubilee or Fiftieth Anniversary in 2005.
2006 - On 14 December the Daily News featured a full-page editorial on the A M Moolla Spes Nova School, entitled “A History Of The School”, which is a specialized school for young children, disabled by cerebral palsy. The school paid tribute to Dr A M Moolla in recognition of the invaluable contribution he made to the school.
2007 - Dr Ismail Kathrada, an Executive Director of the Group and Administrator of the A M Moolla Charity Trust, passed away on Saturday, 30th June, at the age of 81, after having served the Group selflessly for 46 years.
The Business of Paul Vivaldi Fashions (Pty) Ltd. including its divisions was sold, as a going concern to Kingsgate Clothing (Pty) Ltd. with effect from 1st March 2010.
In 2010 the Group commenced manufacturing the 46664 brand (former State President Nelson Mandela’s prisoner no.) under license.
An innovative concept, which is something totally new and in keeping with Government’s vision of creating employment, is where the Group started exploring the possibility of engaging in relationships with Co-operatives (Co-ops). This is a concept where all the members that constitute the Co-op become equal owners of that particular Co-op enterprise. This vision became a reality when the Group commenced its first relationship with a Co-op within the KwaZulu-Natal region in 2011.
2011 - A special feature appeared in the Swazi Observer on Friday, 1st July regarding the Group’s donation of 2000 school shirts to Her Majesty Indlovukazi of Swaziland for the Philani Maswati Charity Organisation which was founded by Her Majesty to help the plight of underprivileged members, both the elderly and children, of the Swazi society.
2011 - Dr Ahmed-Sadek Vahed passed away on Monday, 19th December, at the age of 77. Long before his death though, in order to ensure a seamless transition and succession of leadership due to his ailing health during his twilight years, Dr Vahed passed the baton, in all but name, to the CEO of the Group, Yusuf Vahed who has been seeing to the day-to-day running of the business since the year 1997. Thus, upon Dr Vahed’s passing, Yusuf Vahed assumed the all-important position at the helm.
In September 2012 KCG hosted an 11-member delegation of the China National Textile And Apparel Council (CNTAC – A quasi government agency) whose visit to South Africa was aimed at exploring opportunities to boost trade.
2012 - The Army Military News, South Africa reported on a special visit made by the Chief of the SA Army, Lieutenant General V.R. Masondo to the Group’s factory in Hammarsdale where various uniforms for the SA National Defence Force are made. The Group’s employees welcomed the Chief with great enthusiasm.
As a consequence of manufacturing operations having moved to the outer-lying areas over the last few years, the Reunion building located in the heart of the Durban CBD became redundant and was hence sold in February 2012.
2013 - The Group was awarded 2nd place by the IDC in the category of ‘Black Economic Empowerment’ in recognition of excellence in the 2013 IDC Business Partners Awards on 3 October.
2014 - The Group received a plaque from Standard Bank in recognition of its business partnership formed over 52 years with the bank.
2014 - The Head of the Sterling division was proud to witness how far away from home the ‘Sterling’ brand can be found when he met a Chinese gentleman by chance at the Shangai airport in October donning a Sterling shirt, which was purchased in 1999 and the quality still looked impeccable. Another testimonial that shows that the ‘Sterling’ name has stood the test of time is when Sterling received a letter from a proud customer on 27th January 1982 enclosing a shirt that he had purchased in 1957, 25 years before that, for its high quality and durability.
2015 - Heralded the Group’s 60th year of trading (Diamond Jubilee).
2015 - The Group received its single largest order to date from a government department in the form of a three-year tender amounting to about 550,000 units.
The Group was successful in expanding its Government business at a Provincial level with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DOH) for the supply of linen and patient wear for hospitals.
2015 - Sterling Clothing (Pty) Ltd. was awarded with two certificates by its customer The Trappers Group in the categories of "HIGHEST GROWTH" and "BEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT."
In 2016, the Group started expanding its business into Corporate Wear through its Premier Business Unit, Sterling Clothing (Pty) Ltd. aimed at supplying unirforms to several corporate enterprises.
The Group sponsored and participated by way of an exhibitation stand at the 40th International Hospital Federation World Hospital Congress which was held at the Durban International Convention Centre on 1 November 2016. This was aimed at highlighting the Group's capabilities in regard to the supply of linen and patient wear for hospitals, which already includes the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DOH).
The Group is strongly in support of transformation and goes by the philosophy of betterment for all its stakeholders.
In terms of its BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) Status the Group is categorised as a Level Two Contributor earning a BBBEE Procurement Recognition Level of 125%.
Over the years, the Group has had the honour of receiving several other awards / citations from various quarters which are too numerous to mention.
Over the past few years, the Group initiated a restructuring programme to revitalize its various businesses by setting up specialized and focused marketing divisions to concentrate on “niche” areas. Considerable progress has been made in this regard and a solid platform established for sustainable long-term growth.
Restructuring is ongoing and the Group has now categorized its trading structure into six main Business Units in the form of a Chain Store Business Unit which focuses on the supply of fashion merchandise to all the local chain stores in South Africa; an Independent Retail Business Unit; a Schoolwear Business Unit; a Tenders Business Unit; a Premier Business Unit that focuses on the middle to upper market; and an Export Business Unit, depending of course on export opportunities.
The Goup also supplies uniforms and enjoys close-knit relationships at a National Government level with the SA National Defense Force, The South African Army, The South African Navy, AMRSCOR, The South African Police Service, The Department of Correctional Services, parastatals of the Department of Public Enterprises, as well as other Emergency Support Services in the country.
After a period of 58 years of being based in the Durban CBD, in May 2017, the Group's Head Office was officially relocated from Leopold Street (now David Webster Street) to its Ammdale branch at 240/2 Mathews Meyiwa Road in Stamfordhill.
In May 2017 the Group was awarded by its largest customer Edcon with two Certificates for two categories i.e. "Best Profitability" and "Most Improved On-Time Delivery".
Sterling Clothing (Pty) Ltd. was again awarded with two Certificates by The Trappers Group in the categories of "Most in Demand Product" and "Best Return on Investment" in August 2017.