ATMI dissolved, NCTO created

April 12, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC — As anticipated, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) has been dissolved and a new organization has been officially introduced by leadership of the former group and the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA).

During a press conference here on March 30, Allen E. Gant Jr., president and CEO of Glen Raven, Inc., Glen Raven, NC, announced the formation of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).

The new industry lobbying group will serve as the central policy development and implementation body of the U.S. textile industry and its allied product and service suppliers, Gant said.

“This group will bring new resources to the fight for fair trade policies that continue to impact nearly 1 million workers in the U.S. fiber, textile and supplier industry,” said Gant, who has been named the NCTO’s chairman. “Representing one of the largest manufacturing employers in the United States, NCTO will press for fair trade for American textile workers and it will put forward a positive agenda to revitalize this industry.”

AYSA has not been disbanded, but plans are for this to occur by August, according to an informed source.

NCTO’s goal is to create to create powerful coalitions to advance the interests of textile sector, according to the group’s Web site (www.ncto.org). As an organization, it allows all segments of the textile sector to have a vote and a say in determining NCTO policy.

The centerpiece of the new group is four separate councils representing the fiber, fabric, supplier and yarn industries, each with its own board representation, according to the Web site.

Cass Johnson, previously acting president of the 55-year-old ATMI, has been named NCTO president.

Jim Chesnutt, CEO of National Spinning Co., Washington, NC, will serve as NCTO’s vice chairman. He said the new group was already at work at building a worldwide coalition of textile and apparel industries being hurt by unfair trade practices.

“Today, textile and apparel groups around the world are rising up against the few large suppliers such as China that seek to dominate world trade through the use of unfair trade practices,” Chesnutt said. “In just the last three weeks, textile and apparel groups from more than 20 developed, developing and least developed countries have united under the ‘Istanbul Declaration’ (see story, this page) to demand action.

“NCTO will work closely with these groups to make the case to the Congress, the administration, as well as the WTO that only through effective fair trade policies can our industry, as well as those around the world, benefit,” he added.

NCTO is comprised of four councils: a Fabric and Home Products Manufacturers Council, a Fiber Manufacturers Council; an Industry Support Council and a Yarn Manufacturers Council. Each council will have its own representation on the NCTO board.

“NCTO will be able to sharply focus industry efforts and supply increased resources to those trade and regulatory issues, such as flammability standards and environmental regulations that are most vital to the textile industry,” Chesnutt said.

Steve Dobbins, CEO of Carolina Mills, Maiden, NC, and a member of the NCTO executive committee, added: “In these difficult economic times, we believe the Congress and the administration will support a program that demands fair play for U.S. textile workers, as well as an aggressive stance towards those who refuse to play by the rules.”

The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) will not join NCTO because it is broader-based, but leaders its leaders said they support NCTO’s efforts, according to reports.

NCTO is also supported by a number of House and Senate members.

“It is gratifying to have the entire fiber, textile and supplier industry in the United States now speaking with one voice through the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO),” said Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC). “Those of us in Congress who care about the textile industry are eager to work with NCTO on ensuring that free trade becomes synonymous with fair trade.”

Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) added: “The American textile industry is battered by import competition, which will only get worse when quotas are gone. To fight back, we need new ideas, new organization and a new resolve. The National Council of Textile Organizations serves all of these purposes. I am glad that it’s being formed and am proud to support it.”

NCTO has hired The Ferguson Group in order to increase the industry’s lobbying resources in Washington. The Ferguson Group is a bipartisan government relations firm that provides federal representation to more than 80 public and private entities in 20 states nationwide.

NCTO will be headquartered in Washington, DC, with an office also in Gastonia, NC.

RadiciSpandex celebrates
anniversary, expansion

April 12, 2004

Radici executives on hand for the anniversary and groundbreaking are (L-R) Gianni Norris, sales manager, Radicifil; Paolo Antonietti, CEO, RadiciFibres; Angelo Radici, chairman, Radici Group; Rob Rebello, CEO, RadiciSpandex Corp.; and Bill Girrier, vice president of Sales & Marketing, RadiciSpandex Corp.

TUSCALOOSA, AL — Senior executives and employees of spandex producer RadiciSpandex Corporation united March 19 with distinguished representatives from its European parent company — The Radici Group, a global fiber conglomerate — and its foreign and domestic customers to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking of its world-class manufacturing plant here.

The plant is undergoing its fifth capacity expansion since 1994.

Upon completion, the expansion of RadiciSpandex Corp.’s Tuscaloosa plant will increase capacity by 20 percent, bringing its total production capability to more than 7,000 tons per year. Combined with the site’s sister plant in Gastonia, NC, RadiciSpandex’s United States manufacturing capacity will grow to 15,000 tons per year.

The celebration spotlighted the continued growing demand for Radici Group performance fibers such as polyamide/nylon and spandex. The popularity of RadiciSpandex stretch fibers illustrates the company’s competitive strength in the challenging spandex market based on a steady stream of product innovations, enhanced customer service initiatives and ongoing investments in technology, according to the company.

The event also marked the first time top management from the Italy-based Radici Group congregated for an extended period with their American counterparts at one of RadiciSpandex’s U.S. facilities the spandex producer was acquired in early 2001. The roster of visiting executives included Angelo Radici, Radici Group chairman; Maurizio Radici, vice chairman; and Paolo Antonietti, CEO, Radici Fibres, all of whom are members of The Radici Group Board of Directors.

Welcoming The Radici Group’s senior management and key customers were Rob Rebello, RadiciSpandex Corp. CEO; Kevin Cardullo, CFO; Bill Girrier, vice president of sales and marketing; Steve Klek, vice president of Planning & Logistics; Alan Davis, vice president of Industrial Operations; and Alan Teixeira, vice president of Human Resources.

Attributes highlighted

The event’s other central theme was the enhanced fabric attributes attained through the synergies between spandex and nylon, a fiber market in which The Radici Group is a major global player. This message was delivered by Antonietti, Rebello and Girrier, who kicked off the day’s proceedings at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, AL, with a morning lecture on the global spandex and nylon marketplace titled “Spandex and Polyamide: Crossed Destinies.”

The topic was further illustrated by a fashion show featuring male and female models wearing nylon/spandex designs, including sportswear, intimate apparel, activewear, swimwear and legwear, as well as current stretch fabric trend sectors such as denim.

After the show, attendees traveled to the Tuscaloosa site, where they were given informative tours of the facility. Rebello and Antonietti greeted guests and spoke of Radici Group global fiber business activities.

Guests were also treated to tours of the historical sites in the Tuscaloosa area, after which RadiciSpandex Corp. executives accepted and inaugurated a piece of apparel-themed artwork donated to the facility by the Radici Family.

This special garment, created by the Italian artist Mariella Bettineschi, represents the synthesis of the strength and durability of polyamide/nylon and the softness and elasticity of spandex. The ceremony was capped by a modern dance performance by unitard-clad “New Age” dancers depicting the flexibility of spandex through choreographed dance pieces performed with colorful stretch fabrics.

In the evening, guests enjoyed a traditional Southern-style barbecue dinner, a second performance by the modern dance artists and the unveiling of a new RadiciSpandex Corp. print ad before they returned to the Wynfrey Hotel.

Production boosted

RadiciSpandex Corp.’s continued growth stems from its dedication to being a full-service supplier to fabric producers in both the woven and knit markets, the company said. In addition to the Tuscaloosa plant expansion, the company is boosting production of its new heavy denier spandex products at its Gastonia, NC, plant. These new products are all hydrolysis-free, available in clear or full dull lusters, and are suited for narrow elastic fabrics, baby diaper, hosiery and industrial applications.

RadiciSpandex Corp. offers a full line of high fashion/performance fabric spandex/elastane products, including Type S-85 clear spandex, Type S-17 chlorine-resistant spandex , Type S-45 heat-resistant spandex, Type S-72 for Narrow Fabrics, Type S-72PC for Personal Care products and Type S-52 for applications requiring high elongation and flat recovery curves.

The company still produces industry “standards” Type S-5 and S-7, incorporating elements of the new extrusion technology developed for S-72, S-72PC and S-52. The total company annual spandex capacity exceeds 15,000 tons.

The company also offers global distribution and global finishing (special bobbin rewinding, packaging for narrow elastic fabric delivery systems and warping) operations in the U.S. and Europe.

RadiciFibres offers a wide portfolio of products, ranging from polyamide/nylon 6 and 6.6 to polyester, spandex and rayon for industrial applications, the fashion and home furnishings sectors and the flooring market.

Quota growth cap
to stay until Dec. 23

April 12, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC — The 90-day consultation period mandated by the U.S. government’s special textile China safeguard regulations expired on March 23 without reaching an agreement whereby China would voluntarily limit its exports of knit fabric, brassieres and dressing gowns to the United States.

Consequently, the 7.5 percent growth cap placed by the U.S. government on knit fabric, dressing gown and brassiere exports from China to the United States on Dec. 24, 2003 will remain in effect until Dec. 23, 2004.

The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) and other textile trade associations filed China safeguard petitions on knit fabric, dressing gowns and brassieres on July 24. The U.S. government approved the petitions on November 18 and commenced the mandatory 90-day consultation period with the Chinese on December 24.

“While we are pleased that the U.S. government placed a 7.5 percent growth cap on products covered by the China safeguard, we are disappointed that the Chinese government stymied efforts to negotiate a reasonable comprehensive agreement that would limit the growth of all sensitive textile and apparel exports to the United States to a level that will not disrupt the U.S. market in the future,” said AMTAC Washington Coordinator Auggie Tantillo.

“As a result, AMTAC will continue to file China safeguard actions as necessary in the future as to combat market disrupting surges of Chinese textile and apparel exports.”

From year-end 2001 through year-end 2003, Chinese exports surged 29,671.6 percent for knit fabric, 1158.5 percent for dressing gowns and 404.1 percent for brassieres.

Since January 2001, 32.2 percent (337,000) of all U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing jobs have disappeared.

Dan River files for bankruptcy

April 12, 2004

DANVILLE, VA — Burdened by a heavy debt load, home textiles producer Dan River Inc. followed the paths of several U.S. textile manufacturers by filing for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 31.

The company, based here, filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Dan River said it received a commitment for up to $145 million in debtor-in-possession financing to help fund operations while it reorganizes it balance sheet.

The company said it could emerge from bankruptcy court protection by the end of this year.

On April 1, the bankruptcy court approved several of the company’s “first-day motions” that are intended to support Dan River’s employees, customers and vendors, and provide other forms of operational and financial stability as Dan River proceeds with its financial restructuring.

With respect to employees, the “first-day orders” entered by the court authorize payment of pre-petition and post-petition wages, salaries, commissions, vacation pay, life insurance, medical, dental and other qualified benefits.

“We are pleased with the prompt approval by the bankruptcy court of our ‘first-day motions,’ which will enable the company to continue to operate without interruption and meet normal business obligations,” said Joseph J. Lanier Jr., chairman and CEO. “Moreover, these actions will allow us to remain focused on serving customers, which will continue to be our top priority during the Chapter 11 restructuring.”

Dan River makes sheets and comforters under its own brand, as well as bedding for designer brands Lilly Pulitzer and Alexander Julian.

Editorial

April 12, 2004

Stop the spin (so to speak)

LET’S TAKE a break from the big textile-related issues of the day to look at communication. Specifically, effective communication and its impediments. Last month, the Plain English Campaign issued a press release disclosing survey results of the most irritating cliches in the language. Bottom line: there’s enough jargon and cliches out there to boggle the mind. (Yep, “bottom line” made the list.)

We’ve certainly heard the lion’s share of buzzwords, gibberish and gobbledygook and during our forays throughout Textile Country. We can hardly cover a press conference, interview an executive or hear a speaker without weasel words and phrases creeping up like kudzu. Ever heard someone say so little with so many words? We witness so much of that, it makes our head spin. One phrase that really bugs us is “going forward.” Economists are the biggest offenders, but we also read it occasionally in company financial reports. The expression is used frequently to segue into the “prophetic” part of their speech or communique, as in “going forward, the company expects that this quarter’s results will surpass the last.”

Hooey.

NOT TO BE snooty, but we want to alert you to other phraseology that may hamper your ability to get your message across. Communicating effectively, obviously, is your goal as you try to reach lawmakers, employees and the public regarding all issues textiles, particularly in this day and time. The Plain English Campaign declared that the most annoying cliche in the English language is “at the end of the day.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “At this moment in time” and the constant use of “like” when used as punctuation tied for second, followed by “with all due respect.” These phrases are nothing more than throat-clearers and should be banished from our vocabularies.

Other personal pests, just to name a few: “By and large,” “basically,” “actually,” “frankly,” “the fact of the matter is,” “so to speak,” “sooner rather than later,” “in the best interest of,” “each and every,” and “in and of itself.” Purge them. They only clog your pipes and cloud your message.

And nothing intelligent ever came out of the mouth of someone who uses the phrase “you know what I’m saying?” after a statement. Also, be wary of anyone who says, “to be honest with you.” It makes you wonder if they’ve been lying to you up to that point. Another word of advice: If someone says he’s a “big-picture person,” that means don’t bother him with details. And isn’t a “near miss?” a hit?

JARGON WORKS its way so much into business-speak, we wonder how anyone can, like, understand something well enough to buy a product or buy into a proposal. Hearing such cliches as “proactive,” “24/7,” “pushing the envelope,” “thinking outside the box,” “empowering,” “core strategies,” “brainstorming,” “paradigm shift,” “downsizing,” “right-sizing,” “cost containment,” “facilitating,” “value-added” and “aligning” just gets our goat.

Political correctness, which has pushed its way into the social and business milieu over the last dozen years, has made matters worse, but we won’t go there. Except to say that the word “workers” may be degrading and politically incorrect, yet the popular alternative “associates” isn’t much better, in our book. Such a euphemistic reference further demonstrates the Wal-Martization of America. Why not just say “employees?” And don’t get us started on “solution providers” for “salesmen.”

We’re sure you can find banality in our words, as well. We’re all guilty of triteness at some point in time. But when you do, don’t hold our feet to the fire. You know what we’re saying?

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