'Gotcha!'

Week of December 2, 2002

ATMA Region 3 Meeting, Greenville, SC

C.P. “Butch” Moss Jr. (R), sales manager of Textube Corporation, Greer, SC, joins Jeff Davis, vice president of sales for Alexander Machinery, Inc., Mauldin, SC, and Davis’s wife Robin prior to the Region 3 meeting.
Pausing to pose before the meeting are Butler Mullins (L), president of Textile Hall Corporation, Greenville, SC, and Joe Okey Jr., president of American Monforts Corporation, Charlotte, NC.
On hand for the ATMA meeting at the Poinsett Club are (L-R) Scott Schwarz of Textube Corporation, Greer, SC; Louise Kellett, president of Kellett Enterprises, Inc., Greenville, SC; and Dr. Audrey G. Bettger, president of American Engineered Solutions, Laurens, SC, and her husband John L. Bettger, CEO of the company.

Fiscal Notes

Week of December 2, 2002

Pine State trimming 89 jobs

MOUNT AIRY, NC — Pine State Knitwear, which makes women’s and men’s knit sweaters, has eliminated 89 jobs at its plant here due to weakening sales.

The company has trimmed its work force at the plant by 22 percent, from 401 employees to 312, although some of its jobs are currently vacant and won’t be filled.

Pine State, which has made sweaters here since 1929, makes products under the Shenandoah, Pinnacle and Chelsea Gardens labels. The plant here is its only manufacturing facility.

Surry County, which has lost at least 3,000 textile jobs in the last four years, had an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent in September, down from 8.4 percent in June.

“The vast majority of our competition comes from lower priced, imported sweaters,” said Bucky Holcomb, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, told The Winston-Salem (NC) Journal. “Price has become the determining factor in negotiations with our customers. Design and quality, which are our strengths, have become less important.”

Mount Vernon Mills furloughs employees

SPARTANBURG, SC — In a move aimed at reducing inventory, Mount Vernon Mills said it planned to furlough 90 of its 200 employees at its Arkwright Mills Plant here last week.

Plant Manager Bob Hayes said he hoped the layoffs will be temporary and short, he told The Spartanburg Herald Journal. About 50 of the plant’s 130 looms were to operate last week.

The facility, previously owned by Arkwright Mills, weaves fabric for other Mount Vernon plants, as well as outside markets. But the plant has been producing more cloth during its three shifts in recent weeks than could be sold, the local paper reported.

Burlington turns profit, pinpoints emergence

GREENSBORO, NC — Burlington Industries said it earned $36 million, or 67 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter and added that it is on track to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by mid-2003.

For the same period a year ago, the company lost $76.7 million, or $1.46 per share. Income for the latest quarter included $62.4 million in income tax benefits and $21.1 million in pretax restructuring costs.

Sales slipped 32.5 percent, to $220.9 million.

The company reported a net loss of $101 million for the fiscal year as it reduced capacity and divested itself of under-performing or non-core units.

Sales for the year were $993 million, the first year since 1961 that Burlington has recorded less than $1 billion in revenues.

“I am pleased to report that we have made substantial progress on the operational restructuring program that we outlined last January,” said George W. Henderson III, chairman and chief executive officer.

Charges push Culp into red ink bottle

HIGH POINT, NC — Culp Inc. reported a loss of $6.6 million, or 57 cents per share, for the second quarter after making $857,000, or 8 cents per share, for the same period of 2001.

Excluding restructuring and related charges, the upholstery fabric maker would have made $2.3 million, or 19 cents per share.

Sales were $83.6 million from $96.4 million a year ago.

“In an especially challenging business environment, these results clearly reflect the benefits of the actions we have taken to improve the efficiency of our operations, reduce costs and strengthen our balance sheet,” said Robert G. Culp III, chief executive officer.

Levi Strauss sells bonds for refinancing

SAN FRANCISCO — Levi Strauss & Co. announced Tuesday that it sold $425 million of 12-1/4 percent senior notes for the purpose of repaying debt.

The company also announced that, based on information available for its fourth quarter, which ended Monday, it believes it will achieve its previously disclosed fourth-quarter and full-year 2002 financial targets.

During a public Webcast of its financial community meeting on October 31, the company said it expects fourth-quarter net sales for 2002 would be about the same as the same quarter of 2001 on a constant-currency basis. Levi Strauss also said it expected full-year sales to be flat to down 4 percent on a constant-currency basis from the prior year.

Frisby Technologies gets default notice

WINSTON-SALEM, NC — Frisby Technologies, Inc. said it has received a notice of default from two of its secured creditors.

DAMAD Holdings AG and Bluwat AG have notified the company that it is in default of the tangible net worth covenant contained in its respective loan agreements with the lenders. The covenant requires the company to maintain a tangible net worth of not less than $1.25 million as of the end of each fiscal quarter.

A similar covenant is contained in company loan agreements with other secured lenders, MUSI Investments S.A. and Fin.part International S.A. As of September 30, Frisby’s tangible net worth, calculated as provided in the respective loan agreements, was a negative $663,402, the firm said.

Under the terms of the DAMAD and Bluwat loan agreements, the company has until December 18, to cure the default or such longer period as it is diligently prosecuting a cure to the reasonable satisfaction of the lenders. But Frisby said it does not currently expect that it will be able to cure the default by the deadline.

Fab Industries hires adviser for liquidation

NEW YORK — Fab Industries, Inc. said it has hired McFarland Dewey & Co. LLC as its financial adviser as it prepares to liquidate.

The company’s board approved the liquidation in March, due to weak sales resulting from the downturn of the textile industry. Fab declared an initial liquidating distribution of $10 after shareholders approved the sale of the business in May.

Fab, which makes warp and circular knit fabrics, said it plans to continue operations pending a sale.

AATCC

Week of December 2, 2002

Raitech CEO gives expo high marks

By Devin Steele

CHARLOTTE, NC — No exhibitor, perhaps, was more pleased with the recent American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) International Conference & Exhibition (IC&E) than J. Mark Raiteri.

“I don’t know if it’s just me who feels this way, or if it’s because of our products, but this has been the best AATCC show I’ve been to in the last five years or more,” said Raiteri, president and CEO of Raitech, Inc., based here. “We have a lot of new products — and that helps — but people seem to have more serious interest than before.”

The fact that Raitech — along with partners Atlas and SDL America/SDL Textile Innovators — had a prime spot at the front of the exhibition hall certainly didn’t hurt matters. And neither did the company’s family of “Quick” testing products, as he alluded to.

Whatever the reason, Raiteri, Sales Director Al Simpson and Dennis Whitley, who heads Raitech’s R&D activities, had little downtime during the show as their booth bustled with activity, Raiteri said.

Among Raitech’s newest products is the QuickView™, which earned its share of attention at the expo, Raiteri said. The machine provides a quick, accurate way to determine fabric shrinkage results using digital optics and computer imaging software.

Before this product, dimensional changes in fabric have been determined manually, using a marking pen, template and ruler, a tedious and imprecise process, Raiteri explained. But Quickview revolutionizes the procedure, incorporating a scanner (QuickView) or video camera (Quickview Plus™) and proprietary software that loads into Windows-based systems, he added.

Fabric changes — 60 measurements and calculations — are measured automatically and instantaneously, eliminating human error, he said.

Quickview was designed to work with the Quickwash Plus System (AATCC 187-2000) shrinkage testing unit.

Another new product, QuickCondition™, debuted publicly at the IC&E but has yet to be released. The product, in its final developmental stages, allows dyed samples to be taken straight from a dyeing machine to a conditioned state, ready for color measurement or other testing — at a dramatically reduced time of conditioning, according to Raiteri.

“They could build a small conditioned room in the plant, but that’s going to cost money and take up floor space,” he said. “This does everything they require and it does it in 1/16th of the amount of time.”

Because nothing similar exists on the market, the company calls the QuickCondition the “missing link in color communication.”

“All the people from the color companies talk to us about their need for something like this,” Raiteri said. “Their instruments are only as good as the sample and they’ve done everything they can do now — except this last piece.”

Because of QuickCondition’s groundbreaking nature, Raiteri said he is as excited over this product as he was over the company’s introductory product, the QuickWash. “This has the same kind of ring to it for me,” he said. “It’s something new and different.”

Raiteri also waxed philosophic about the company’s position on innovation.

“We’ve made a lot of different products since I’ve been in business and the QuickWash was one of them,” he added. “We believed that if you build a better product, a better mousetrap, people were going to buy it. This (QuickWash) was one of them, but it was an expensive mousetrap. And you also had to change people’s way of thinking.

“Well, this (QuickCondition) is a product where people know there’s a need for it and you don’t have to convince them of that. You just build a better product and they will buy it. We think we have that in this product. That doesn’t come along very often. They can’t do it any other way. They either have to build a conditioned room or use this.”

The company’s Quick Temp™ water temperature control units also turned some heads at the expo, Raiteri added. The units help control water temperatures in washing machines to comply with temperature requirements established by the AATCC and other technical institutes.

“It’s been on the market and we haven’t sold many, but all of a sudden people are starting to buy them,” he said. “They have said, ‘that is really unbelievable ... you can control everything for that little price?”

'Gotcha!'

Week of December 2, 2002

International Society of
Industrial Fabric Manufacturers

Fall Agenda — Charlotte, NC

Brad Hill, vice president and general manager of Solutia Fibers, presents the keynote address.
Among speakers during ISIFM’s Fall Agenda were Ben Wilson (L), P.E., sales manager for PSC, a Litzler Company, and Matthew C. Litzler, president of C.A. Litzler Co., Inc. Both based in Cleveland, Wilson and Litzler spoke on Innovative Heating and Drying Technologies.
Dr. Satish C. Sharma, applications and development manager for Eliokem, Inc., Akron, OH, speaks on “Fabric Reinforcement of Rubber — Functions of Adhesive Components.”
Sharing a few words during a break are (L-R) Lance Butler, market manager for Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, SC; Paul Franklin, compound engineer for Yokohama, Salem, VA; and Phillip Greene, market manager for Milliken & Co., LaGrange, GA. More than 100 people from around the country attended ISIFM’s Fall Agenda.
Phil Ryalls (L) of A.B. Carter, Gastonia, NC, talks with Gray Sullivan, plant manager for Dan River, Inc., Porterdate, GA.

Nonwovens

Week of December 2, 2002

INDA to expand lobbying efforts

CARY, NC — With undisputed Republican majorities set to assume leadership of both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate early next year — and with the encouragement of the Bush Administration — INDA, Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry, has determined that its government relations efforts in Washington, DC, should be expanded to include a focus on legislative affairs and the U.S. Congress.

To that end, INDA’s board of directors endorsed an expansion of the INDA Government Relations Program to focus on educating and informing elected officials in Congress about issues important to the nonwovens industry.

The effort will be spearheaded by INDA Director of Government Affairs Peter Mayberry and Jessica Franken, Government Affairs associate, working out of the association’s offices in Washington.

Mayberry pointed out that the nonwovens association has always had a strong regulatory program with government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This latest step is an expansion of these efforts into the legislative branch.

“We have reacted successfully to legislative issues when they have arisen in the past, but now INDA will be more proactive on behalf of its industry members on issues that concern the manufacturing and selling of nonwoven fabrics and related products,” Mayberry said.

“Simply put, we will be going to Capitol Hill to educate our elected officials on the business of nonwovens.”

While Franken will be handling the daily efforts on Capitol Hill, the INDA board, with the endorsement of the Executive Committee, has authorized the hiring of additional staff in the DC offices.

Nonwovens

Week of December 2, 2002

INTC draws more than 500

CARY, NC — INTC 2002, The International Nonwovens Technical Conference, welcomed about 500 attendees from around the country, according to organizers.

The event, which took place in Atlanta recently, was a joint effort between TAPPI, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, and INDA, Association of the Nonwovens Industry.

“INTC 2002 was an outstanding program and demonstrated what cooperation between two leading associations can achieve,” said Wayne H. Gross, TAPPI’s executive director and chief operating officer. “I am pleased with the accomplishments of the INTC committee, TAPPI staff and INDA staff.”

INDA President Ted Wirtz added that “INTC now has a proven track record. Attendees realize that INTC is the place to be in order to effectively learn about the hot issues, as well as network with peers and colleagues from around the world. INTC keeps getting better and better due to the terrific working relationship between TAPPI and INDA.”

Attendees included CEOs, research and development managers, scientists and technical personnel, hosts said.

Awards presented

The second annual INDA Award for Lifetime Achievement was recently presented to Subhash Batra of the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center (NCRC) and Jay R. Sommers of Kimberly-Clark Corporation during INTC 2002.

This award is presented to an individual whose technical contribution has enhanced the nonwovens industry. For this year, Batra and Sommers received the honors due to their outstanding individual achievements in the nonwovens industry.

Batra, a professor at the College of Textiles, NC State University, was also responsible for starting the NCRC there.

In addition, Batra has done consulting work; been a member of many professional organizations; is affiliated with ASME, The Fiber Society, Sigma Xi, The Textile Institute, American Academy of Mechanics, New York Academy of Science, Phi Kappa Phi; received many distinctions and awards; and authored and co-authored hundreds of publications.

Sommers is director of clinical and scientific documentation for health care at Kimberly-Clark.

Sommers holds seven U.S. patents on disposable medical devices and during is career has helped to create new nonwoven processes, new composite materials, nonwoven surface modification treatments and environmentally compatible materials. Sommers has also authored more than 70 technical information bulletins for Professional Health Care’s Documentation Program.

INTC 2003 will take place September 16–18 at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore. For more information, contact INDA by phone at 919-233-1210 or by e-mail at info@inda.org or check out the Web site www.inda.org.

Briefs

Week of December 2, 2002

Former Hathaway shirt factory gains suitor

WATERVILLE, ME — The nation’s last major shirt manufacturing factory, which was closed by C.F. Hathaway here last month, has found a suitor.

Arizona businessman Michael Peloquin has offered the city $1.3 million for the facility and hopes to reopen the factory and manufacture shirts there, according to The Associated Press.

He also would like to buy the plant’s equipment from Hathaway’s parent company, Windsong Allegiance Group, contingent on the plant’s purchase being approved, according to reports.

The plant with 200 employees was closed after Hathawy lost a bid for an Air Force contract and after a foundation promoting U.S. manufacturing failed to collect enough money to buy the facility.

AGX Corp. opens Asia Pacific office

NEW YORK CITY — AGX Corp., a New York-based printed textile converter of swimwear and intimate apparel, announced the opening of its newest subsidiary, AGX Asia Pacific Ltd. in Seoul, Korea.

AGX Corp. will expand its printing and fabric sourcing operations through the subsidiary.

Alba-Waldensian gets iWork collection system

GREENSBORO, NC — iWork Software has completed implementation of iWork ADC (automated data collection) at all three facilities of Alba-Waldensian, a knit intimate apparel and medical specialty products manufacturer.

“The automated data collection solution from iWork allows the company to move materials through the production line faster, with less manpower and with better inventory and cost control at each step in the production process,” says Bill Neill, director of Information Technologies at Alba. “The increased flow of goods has reduced staging inventories and aided in increasing on-time shipments, decreasing vendor compliance issues and charge-backs.”

Quaker Fabric buys EAT software license

FALL RIVER, MA — Quaker Fabric Corporation, one of the largest Jacquard weaving mills in the world, has placed an order for nine more DesignScope® victor software licenses by EAT GmbH of Kempen, Germany.

In mid-2001, Quaker placed an initial order for 40 DesignScope victor licenses, the biggest one-time order ever placed for an EAT product, the company said. The installation of the software was followed by several training seminars at Quaker Fabric.

EAT introduced the system in the spring of 2000 at the CITDA conference in Charlotte, NC.

Non-wovens

Week of December 2, 2002

Filtration 2002 set for this week in DC

WASHINGTON, DC — The Filtration 2002 International Conference & Exposition, sponsored by INDA, Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry, is set to run this week at the Washington Convention Center here.

More than 200 exhibitors are slated for the expo, which will be open Wednesday and Thursday. The conference will take place Tuesday through Thursday.

More than 2,000 visitors from around the world are expected to attend, organizers said.

A number of tracks are slated for the conference, including Filtration 101 — The Fundamentals of Filtration; Filtration 201 — Advanced Filtration; HEPA/HVAC; Filter Forum; Respiratory Protection; and Nuclear Air.

The Filter Forum will feature panelists Kevin Campbell of KoSa, Ty Headley of Royal United, Kent Mertz of Freudenberg Nonwovens and Herman Forster, Ph.D., of DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems, who will discuss the state of the industry.

On Wednesday, Filtration+ Separation magazine will again hold its Product Achievement Awards, highlighting accomplishments and providing standards of excellence for the products and services that benefit the filtration industry.

Non-wovens

Week of December 2, 2002

Freudenberg inks pact

Freudenberg Nonwovens L.P. and Fiber Dynamics, Inc. jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to transfer certain interlinings and embroidery backing business from Fiber Dynamics to Freudenberg.

Under the agreement, Freudenberg recently began servicing customers of the interlining and embroidery backing business previously serviced by Fiber Dynamics.

Through this agreement and its investment in state-of-the art adhesive technologies, Freudenberg is expanding its product portfolio and market position for the interlinings and embroidery product lines. In addition, Freudenberg has continued to expand its sales, distribution and converting services to meet the growing demand by customers moving production to Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico.

The company added that it remains committed to the apparel industry in North America.

Textile News Index