By  on April 6, 1994

NEW YORK -- Plaid who?

Plaid Clothing Group is a relatively unknown -- but sizable -- producer of men's tailored clothing that stepped into the international limelight last month with its bid for GFT, the ailing Italian apparel giant.

The GFT deal is currently in due diligence and, if completed, it will make Plaid the largest manufacturer of tailored clothing in the world, with revenues exceeding $1 billion.

Plaid is also a very private company.

The man in control is chairman and director Omar Z. Al Askari, who controls 93.7 percent of Plaid's voting stock.

He is also chief executive of United Eastern Investment Corp. (UEIC) in Abu Dhabi, which he organized in 1984 to invest personal and syndicated assets in international markets.

According to an 8-K registration filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month, Al Askari's shares of common stock in Plaid Clothing are actually "owned of record by Plaid BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Plaid NV. Mr. Al Askari...owns all of the voting shares of UEIC which in turn owns all of the voting shares of Plaid Holdings NV.

"Accordingly, he may be deemed to have beneficial ownership of the shares owned by Plaid BV."

Al Askari, who resides in Abu Dhabi, in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf, is no newcomer to the U.S. He was educated in this country and, before returning to his homeland, Al Askari reportedly worked for Arthur Andersen, the accounting and consulting company.

Plaid is currently the second-largest maker of men's tailored clothing in the U.S., and its bid last month of $236.8 million (400 billion lire) for GFT bested some serious competition: Mexican industrialist Fabio Covarrubias and Italian textile powerhouse Miroglio SpA.

Despite the publicity generated by Plaid's bid, veterans in the apparel business are generally stumped when asked for details about the company, even though everybody knows its two divisions -- Palm Beach, the Chevrolet of the men's suit business, and J. Schoeneman, the century-old Baltimore company that turned Burberrys into one of the hottest names in the men's business.

The curtain was lifted on some of Plaid Clothing's structure when the 8-K registration form was filed last month with the SEC to sell $75 million of senior subordinated notes through Goldman, Sachs & Co. to refinance Plaid's existing debt.

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