Patching things up
Week of February 5, 2001
With ITMA 03 concerns quelled,
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND After announcing last August that they would blow off the next International Textile Machinery Exhibition-International (ITMA), in 2003, a group of circular knitting machinery manufacturers have changed their minds, according to show organizers.
The announcement was made by officials at The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) venue, where ITMA will be staged for the first time, and CEMATEX, the pan-European machinery body that stages the quadrennial ITMAs.
Last year, the knitting group said it would skip the show and instead participate in a new exhibition for the knitting field at Milano Fair in Italy in 2003. At the time, the knitters alliance said in a statement, This decision has been taken considering the requirements of the market, the inadequacy of ITMA as a knitting exhibition and, last but not least, the place chosen for the next exhibition: Birmingham.
Earlier this month, ITMA 2003 organizers announced that the show would be reduced from its traditional 10 days to eight days, which organizers didnt say was a factor in the decision of the knitters group. Planners, in their statement last week, reported that, their decision underlines the appeal of ITMA as the worlds premier textile machinery exhibition for all sectors of the textile industry.
Said Maria Avery, exhibition director of the ITMA 2003 organizing committee at The NEC: Representatives of several leading knitting machinery companies have visited The NEC recently and have been impressed both with the facilities and the cost-effectiveness of the overall package we can offer.
We are pleased that this has corrected some of the unfair and unfounded criticism that has been stirred up in some quarters and we are delighted to welcome circular knitting machine producers as an important exhibit group.
Officials with The NEC and CEMATEX said that they are confident that the switch to the more compact, eight-day format, will be a winner. This decision, which will apply to future ITMAs, recognizes the changing business environment and the influence of the Internet and e-mail, they added.
Week of February 5, 2001
In this week's edition:
Sara Lee to cut 7,000 worldwide
CHICAGO In continued streamlining, Sara Lee Corp. announced January 24 that it plans to cut 7,000 jobs worldwide, a large number of them in its intimates and underwear segment.
The diversified company said it would divest eight units, including Champion Europe, Sara Lee Apparel Australasia and several international bakery operations.
The layoffs will come mainly from the companys two biggest operations intimates and underwear, along with food, according to reports.
The job cuts, which represent about 4.5 percent of its 154,000 employee work force, will occur over the next year, Sara Lee said.
Since Sara Lee first announced its reshaping program last May, it has made plans to divest 14 companies, representing more than $4.5 billion in revenue.
With these divestitures, Sara Lee continues to make considerable progress in reshaping our business portfolio and strengthening our leadership position as a global branded consumer packaged goods company, said C. Steven McMillan, president and CEO.
In addition to these divestitures, Sara Lee said it expects to divest its remaining 81 percent position in the premium accessories company, Coach, Inc. via an exchange offer. The company added that it anticipates the exchange offer would be completed by the end of April.
Ergonomics standard grabs much attention
By Alfred Dockery
GREENSBORO, NC Ergonomics, union activity and safety were key topics at The Hosiery Associations (THA) 2001 Human Resources/Safety Symposium here this month.
The new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ergonomics standard gathered tremendous interest from symposium attendees. The standard is controversial. Opponents charge that it is vague, self-contradictory in places and will hurt U.S. manufacturers ability to compete. The scientific studies on which the standard is based have also been questioned. One thing is clear, though: employers must begin working to comply.
Its here and I dont believe that it is going to go away , said Anita R. Goehringer, director, NC Ergonomics Resource Center. There is a lot of politics on the table. There are plenty of lawsuits about the standard, but it is in effect. It went into effect on Jan. 16, 2001 and the compliance date is Oct. 14, 2001. So, basically, you have 10 months to get everything together to start complying.
OSHA says that the new standard will prevent 300,000 injuries, save $9 billion annually in workers compensation and other direct costs, and cost employers $4.2 billion each year. All of these figures have been disputed by various groups. The goal of the ergonomics standard is to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Examples of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and back injuries.
The standard includes a grandfather clause for employers who had a written ergonomics program in place before Nov. 14, 2000. It is a reactive standard in that most of its provisions dont come into effect until a work-related injury occurs. Once an MSD or signs or symptoms of an MSD is detected, companies have an option of providing a quick fix or developing an ergonomics program for that job.
If two or more MSDs happen on the same job or in the same facility, the company must launch an ergonomics program for that job and related jobs.
Martin Color-Fi, Clariant ink deal
EDGEFIELD, SC Martin Color-Fi, Inc. (MCF) announced that it has been granted exclusive rights by the Clariant Corporation to use Clariants new Nylostab S-EED® additive in the manufacture and sale of polyester fiber for automotive applications.
MCF, which last year emerged from Chapter 11, is one of the leading producers of polyester for use in the automotive industry and the agreement specifically covers this market segment in the United States, Mexico and Canada. This unique fiber, introduced by MCF as ColorGuard, is stabilized against the long-term effects of ultraviolet light and heat and provides an improved color appearance, the manufacturer said.
Swift Spinning to close plant
COLUMBUS, GA Swift Spinning Mills, Inc. is closing its Tifton, GA, operation, eliminating about 110 jobs, the company announced last week.
The closing of Swift Spinning-Tifton, Inc. is effective March 29, with the exception of certain employees who will continue to work for about a week, the company said.
The decision was made due to consolidation of operating units at Swift Spinnings operations here, the firm said in a statement.
Spray Cotton to shut 105-year-old facility
EDEN, NC Spray Cotton Mills, which tried to stop the financial bleeding with two layoffs totaling 70 jobs in recent months, is closing its 105-year-old yarn production plant here.
The shutdown will leave the plants remaining 144 people out of work.
Spray officials, who did not return phone calls from STN, blamed earlier layoffs on lower demand for U.S.-made yarn as a result of yarn imports.
WestPoint shutting SC sheeting plant
WEST POINT, GA WestPoint Stevens plans to close its Seneca, SC, plant, a sheeting plant that dates back to 1898, as part of its Eight-Point Restructuring Program, the firm announced Monday.
About 468 people will lose their jobs as a result, although a limited number will move to nearby company plants, WPS said in a statement. The closing is expected to occur at the end of March.
The following day, the company announced that sales and earnings for the fourth quarter would fall below prior company guidance. Fourth-quarter sales will fall in the $418 million range, down 14 percent from year-ago levels, below the companys original expectations of a 3-5 percent sales decline, WestPoint said.
Soft retail demand, significant inventory reduction by selected large retailers and the disruptive effect of the tornado that damaged the Abbeville, AL, Distribution Center all contributed to the shortfall, the firm added.
Earnings per share, before restructuring charges, should be about 11 cents, below prior guidance of 30 cents due to the sales shortfall and additional downtime taken to reduce inventories, which ended the year at $407 million, WestPoint said.
In connection with the closing, the company will take an additional $27 million, pretax restructuring charge in the fourth quarter of 2000 and the first half of 2001, bringing the total restructuring charges associated with the restructuring to $222 million pretax, of which $168 million are non-cash charges. Anticipated annual cost savings, once fully implemented in 2002, will be $38 million, WPS said.