MILES RENAMED, SPANDEX STILL FOCUS

Byline: Michael McNamara

NEW YORK--As Miles Inc. battles it out with Globe Manufacturing for the number-two spot in the North American apparel spandex market--behind DuPont's Lycra--it will be doing so under a different name.
As of April 1, Miles, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Germany, will be known as Bayer Corp.
The name change follows Bayer's November acquisition of North American Sterling's over-the-counter drug business, which included the rights to the Bayer name and trademarks in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. Bayer was barred from using the name in North America in 1941, when Sterling became sole owner of the jointly owned worldwide patents and trademarks.
While most of the $13 billion Bayer plans on investing in research and capital investments over the next three years will be aimed at improving its chemicals and pharmaceuticals--Bayer's core businesses--Dorlastan is not being forgotten, said Helge H. Wehmeier, president and chief executive officer of Miles Inc.
Wehmeier, along with Manfred Schneider, Bayer ceo, and Werner Spinner, general manager of Bayer AG's consumer care business group, outlined Bayer's North American strategies at a press briefing here last Thursday.
Miles, currently in third place in the spandex race, behind DuPont and the Fall River, Mass.-based Globe, is banking on production from its $170 million Bushy Park, S.C., facility.
"We're looking to become the number two player by the end of the year," Wehmeier said, noting that with the 7 million pounds of Dorlastan that the Bushy Park site will be producing, coupled with the 9 million pounds currently being made at Dormagen, Germany, "we feel we are in a great position right now."
Miles's Bushy Park plant will service the North American and Asian markets, Wehmeier said.
Globe, however, isn't going to give up its market position without a fight. While it acknowledges Globe's recent penetration into the North American market, the firm says it intends to maintain its hold on number two.
Globe is currently on track to produce 18 million pounds of spandex this year, helped by a 3.5 million pound capacity that has come on line at its new Tuscaloosa, Ala., plant. Globe also makes spandex at Fall Riverand at Gastonia, N.C.
"We have been number two in the market and have done what we've needed to do to remain in that position," said Bill Girrier, Globe's marketing manager.
The determining factor in the number-two battle will be end uses. Bayer's output is virtually all for the apparel market, whereas Globe services diversified markets, including industrial end uses. Globe, though, will not break out production by end uses.
DuPont--by far the largest player in the spandex game--currently makes about 30 million pounds at its plant at Waynesboro, Va. The firm also has eight other facilities around the world and makes about half of the 160 million pounds of spandex produced worldwide.
Wehmeier said that once the name change is official, Bayer will begin a $15 million marketing, promotion and ad campaign in North America for all its products--from aspirin to spandex. Wehmeier wouldn't say how much will be spent on the Dorlastan promotion . However, unlike DuPont, which is in the midst of its $10 million-plus "Nothing Moves Like Lycra" consumer ad campaign for its spandex, Wehmeier said Bayer promotion will be aimed "at the mills and other manufacturers that utilize our fiber."

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