MIDDLEBURY, Indiana — After a swirl of industry reports, Cone Mills has confirmed its sale to Abercrombie Textiles. John Regan, president and CEO of Abercrombie Textiles confirmed that Cone Mills is no longer under the management of International Textile Group and that the transaction closed March 31. A purchase price for the Cone Jacquards LLC business unit was not disclosed.
“We are historically a body cloth manufacturer with a little bit of jacquard capacity, whereas Cone Mills is the opposite: they have a lot of jacquard capacity and do some body cloth as well and that’s the nice mix,” said Regan. “The compliment of the two made for a really nice fit. Our effort here is to create value domestically.”
The sale includes the plant facility and its assets located in Cliffside, North Carolina as well as current inventories, all products and certain intellectual properties of the business. Abercrombie also has a warehouse in Shelby, North Carolina, which is some 20 miles from its newly-acquired Cliffside facility. Corporate headquarters are in Middlebury, Indiana. Abercrombie also has a showroom in High Point in North Carolina, which it has since combined with the newly acquired showroom occupied by Cone Mills. In total, the company now has in the neighborhood of 130 employees.
“The 96 employees we hired from Cone went from a big, corporate mentality to an entrepreneurial mentality,” said Regan.
Regan considers the company “pretty well balanced” between such sectors as hospitality, residential furniture, contract furniture, health care and recreational vehicles and he believes that cutting lead times in half is critical to the recovery of each of those sectors.
The archive of pattern development at Cone Mills goes back almost 125 years when the company was founded in 1892. The design team is currently headed up by Debbye Lustig and Wendy Haithcox. Chris Richard is the new COO for Abercrombie Textiles, who came over as part of the acquisition.
In the years leading up to his purchase of Abercrombie, Regan said that the more he traveled sourcing textiles, the more evident it became how quickly China was expanding. This realization compelled him to buy a small, niche textile company in the U.S. to keep its value.
“I bought Abercombie in the latter part of 2006 when it was just a contract or specialty weaver,” said Regan. “It was the first time I got into the actual ownership of the means of the production, the equipment to weave the fabric. We have since grown through the recession developing product and people and going out and selling. The impact of raw materials is horrific but we have a lot of extra capacity and we’re now growing to fill or reach that capacity.”
International Textile Group is a global, diversified provider of textile solution for a variety of sectors including: performance and specialty apparel fabrics, advanced uniform fabrics, technical commercial fabrics, engineered automotive components and luxury interior furnishings. ITG’s business units include: Burlington Worldwide, Cone Denim, Safety Components, Cone Jacquards and Carlisle Finishing. It has approximately 9,000 employees worldwide with operations in the U.S., Mexico, China, Nicaragua and Vietnam.
“We believe this is a positive change for Cone Jacquards and will provide significant opportunity and support for the growth of the business,” said Joseph L. Gorga, president & CEO of ITG. “Our employees have worked hard to improve the operations and bring an elevated styling and design that is recognized in the market.”
Byline: Marc Weinreich, [June 2011]