The origins of Coats can be traced to the Clark and Coats families that created the weaving and textile industries of Paisley, Scotland during the late 18th century.
Clark's 3-ply sewing thread, using twisted cotton yarns as a cheaper, more readily available alternative to silk, is first placed on the market.
During this period, and with the advent of the industrial revolution, the Coats and Clark firms were at the forefront of the mechanisation of the textile industries in Scotland.
Both the Clark and Coats firms are prospering, selling high quality sewing cotton around the world. They begin sending members of their families to America to act as selling agents.
In 1890, Coats’ initial share offering takes place on London Stock Exchange. In 1896, the Coats and Clark firms merge to form J&P Coats Ltd, with a market value of around £22 million, over 50,000 employees worldwide, and approximately 25,000 shareholders.
By now J&P Coats is growing into one of the world's largest company’s – at one point it was ranked by market capitalisation ($300.8 million) after US Steel and Standard Oil.
Coats' global presence and product range continue to grow throughout the 20th century as the company leveraged its roots as one of the first multinational companies to further strengthen its global network of commercial relationships and local knowledge.
The final decades of the twentieth century saw a decline in manufacturing, and Coats had to adapt to new conditions to survive. In 1986, a merger with Vantona Viyella creates Coats Viyella. In the 1990s, Coats Viyella acquires Tootal Thread, a major global thread company, Rowan yarns, an upscale knitting yarn brand, and Barbour Thread, a leading speciality thread manufacturer.
At the turn of a new century, Coats is acquired by Guinness Peat Group and delisted from the London Stock Exchange. A period of reorganisation and move of the manufacturing base from West to East begins.
Paul Forman appointed Chief Executive to put in place a new strategy that is orientated around growth and developing new products and services.
Coats returns to the market as 'Coats Group plc', 125 years after its first listing on the London Stock Exchange. The first acquisition is made on services firm 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 carbon composite product range with applications for automotive and aerospace industries.
Rajiv Sharma is appointed as new Chief Executive. Rajiv Sharma and Coats enter the FTSE 250 index of UK companies with a market capitalisation of +£1bn Acquisitions continue with deal for Patrick Yarn Mill, a manufacturer of high-performance engineered yarns from renewable energy based in North Carolina, US.