ESI'S LEATHER BUY: ESI Leather Group, a Milwaukee-based tannery, has acquired WB Place Co., Hartford, Wis., a 128-year-old processor of deerskin for apparel, gloves, slippers, boots and accessories. Terms were not disclosed.

ESI Leather, a unit of Everett Smith Investment Co., also of Milwaukee, owns and operates 13 other leather processors and tanneries in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Germany and China.

Thomas Packee, president of ESI subsidiary Blackhawk Leather Ltd., Acton, Ontario, will take on additional duties as president of WB Place. Lyn P. Schuette, a fifth-generation owner of WB Place who was its president, will remain with the company as senior vice president.

Packee said all of WB Place's 115 employees "will remain intact."

RIETER GOES BANGKOK: Switzerland's Rieter Group, a major supplier of spinning machinery to the textile industry, has opened a sales office in Bangkok, Thailand. The move by Rieter's spinning systems division, in cooperation with its Thai agent Cosa Liebermann Ltd., "is aimed at strengthening its customer relationships and orientation in this Southeast Asian nation," the group said.

According to latest available figures, more than half of Rieter spinning systems' volume of $526 million (769 million Swiss francs) in 1992 was done in Asia.

Rieter already has established sales offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei. Rieter's spinning division also operates service centers in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.

MONSANTO'S KNITWEAR IDEAS: A fall 1994 knitwear fashion show featuring apparel made from Monsanto's Acrilan acrylic is slated for Feb. 9 in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. The event, hosted by Phil Shroff, Monsanto's fashion consultant, and his wife, Dhun Shroff, incorporates European looks in circular knits from such firms as Andrex Industries, Armtex, Windjammer Knits, Paul Gottlieb & Co., Channel Knits and Fab Industries.

COTTON COUTURE: On Feb. 23, Cotton Incorporated will present "Cotton at the Couture," a color, fabric and silhouette report highlighting cotton apparel featured at the recent Paris couture shows. The 30-minute audio-visual presentation, which will be shown five times throughout the day, is set for the McGraw-Hill Auditorium, New York. Mary Lou Hawkins, Cotton Inc.'s senior director of fashion marketing, will narrate.

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