ATME-I called success

Week of April 30, 2001

Future remains cloudy

By Devin Steele

GREENVILLE, SC — Putting the issue of consolidation and venue aside for the next cycle, organizers and exhibitors of the American Textile Machinery Exhibition-Inter- national (ATME-I) concentrated on the matter at hand during the show last week.

And results of the five-day event were positive, said planners and many companies that helped make up 518 exhibitors. According to unofficial figures, 11,274 visitors — counted only the first time they enter the facility — attended the event at the Palmetto Expo Center here.

That follows a somewhat disappointing ATME-I 2000 show that saw only 9,763 people visit the fiber, yarn, nonwovens, plant engineering and maintenance segment of the two-leg cycle.

This part of the show catered to the weaving, knitting, dyeing, printing and finishing sectors and doesn’t typically attract a larger audience, organizers pointed out. Still, they were singing the praises of last week’s turnout, especially given the low expectations many people had coming in.

“We’re rather pleased with the attendance,” Bob Ellis, CEO of co-sponsor Textile Hall Corporation and show director.

Yet, the burning issue of merging the shows and, possibly, moving ATME-I to a larger venue in another city crackled in the background throughout the week. Officials of Textile Hall and co-sponsor the American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) said the matter is being negotiated.

“The issue will be resolved very, very shortly,” said Dick Heusel, chairman of Textile Hall.

On the floor, several exhibitors labeled ATME-I a success and had orders in hand to prove it. Sulzer Textile, for one, sold almost 100 weaving machines during the show to a total of eight companies, including two in the U.S., according to Fritz Legler, president of the company.

“I think the pleasing message for this industry is that people are buying,” said Legler, adding that he was happy to see that customers showed confidence in doing business with a company that is on the block to be sold.

Among buyers was Artistic Milliner, a vertical denim producer and jeans manufacturer based in Karachbi, Pakistan. Besides ordering 40 Sulzer Textil 7150 projectile weaving machines, the company also bought a 24-rope indigo dye machine and denim finishing range from Kleinwefers Textile Machinery Corp. and ball warpers, rebeamers and creels from West Point Foundry and Machine Co., West Point, GA.

Elsewhere, Raitech, Inc. sharing a booth with owner Atlas Electrical Devices Co., reported the sale of four of its QuickWash machines and two of its new QuickView machines.

Also, KM Fabrics, headed by Heusel, ordered a pre-dryer, dryer and tenter frame from Tucker-Piatt. The latter machine was bought by Tucker-Piatt from Entec to supply KM.

“I had high hopes for the show, but not high expectations,” said Harrell Ligon of exhibitor Lang Ligon & Co. “If (visitors) came any faster, we couldn’t have covered them well and they would’ve just seeped on through.”

Ron Copsey and Alfred Dockery contributed to this report.

STN Headliners

Week of April 30, 2001

In this week's edition:

GTMA members to hold meeting

ATLANTA — Leaders of the Georgia textile and carpet industry will convene this week in Savannah, the historic city once ruled by cotton and discovered in recent years by visitors from around the world, thanks to author John Berendt’s book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

Scheduled for Thursday through Saturday at The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort is the 101st annual meeting of GTMA: The Association of Georgia’s Textile, Carpet and Consumer Products Manufacturers (GTMA) and the 58th annual meeting of The Textile Education Foundation (TEF).

Pillowtex Corp. to close two more plants in NC

KANNAPOLIS, NC — Pillowtex Corporation announced last week that it will close two North Carolina manufacturing facilities as the company prepares to sell its blanket division and faces the expiration of a key licensing agreement with Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.

A blanket yarn manufacturing facility in Newton, which employs 110 people, and a cut-and-sew operation in Rocky Mount, where 180 employees work, will be closed by June 30, the company said.

Deal reached for Springs to be taken private;
Earnings drop 18 percent

FORT MILL, SC — Springs Industries said Wednesday that it has agreed to be taken private by members of its founding family and a private equity business. The deal is worth $1.2 billion.

The agreement has been reached between members of the Close family and Heartland Industrial Partners of Greenwich, CN, and the company’s board of directors approved the deal.

After the recapitalization, each public shareholder of Springs would receive $46 per share in cash, up from the $44 initially offered in February by members of the family and Heartland.

Myrick introduces legislation to amend act, assist spinners

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. House Representative Sue Myrick (NC-09) introduced legislation Wednesday that will amend the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) by expanding the duty-free provisions of the trade agreement to include socks and hosiery.

According to Myrick’s office, this bill makes two important technical corrections. First, this bill clarifies that products knit-to-shape in the U.S., such as hosiery and socks, and finished in a Caribbean country that participates in CBTPA, will be eligible for the full benefits of the trade agreement.

Second, this bill removes entirely the exclusion on socks and extends duty-free treatment to this product, the spokesperson added.