Thread-making business Coats says sales are on the rise after years of stagnation.
Sales at Coats have stuck at about $1.5 billion over the past 15 years, even though its threads are used in one in five garments made globally.
Chief executive Paul Forman says traceable thread, developed with Auckland company VTT, is a new development that can boost its one-third share of the industrial market.
Mr Forman says it can also expand its market share of zips, car airbags and shoes, as well as teabags.
He says fibre-optic cable is another area where Coats can add real value to network operators.
The company is owned by Guinness Peat Group, which is in the process of selling the rest of its sprawling portfolio, including controlling stakes in the listed firms Tower and Turners & Growers.