Hyosung Plans Expansion: Spandex maker Hyosung Corp., which sells the Creora brand of the fiber, said Monday it plans to invest $210 million over the next three years to boost its manufacturing capacity by 50 percent. That will put its total worldwide capacity at about 50,000 tons of the fiber a year.

The Seoul, South Korea-based firm intends to spend about $70 million to boost capacity at its facility in China’s Guangdong province by September 2004. It will follow with a $140 million investment at a European site to be determined, where it aims to build a new facility by September 2006.

In a phone interview, Rusty Ford, vice president of the company’s Charlotte, N.C.-based U.S. arm, said, “We have just experienced a large growth in Europe in spandex consumption. We also envision the Eastern Bloc countries becoming more important to Creora, so logistically, it makes sense.”

Eastern European countries including Russia, Bulgaria and Poland have been driving their apparel manufacturing industries in recent years in an effort to boost their exports and grow their economies.

The Chinese factory also will boost its production of heavy-denier spandex, which is used in the narrow fabrics and diaper markets, Ford said. Hyosung’s other existing spandex plants are in Anyang and Kumi, South Korea. The diversified company has annual sales of about $4 billion.

— Scott Malone

Valentino Flagship Bows in Singapore:
Valentino has unveiled a new flagship at the Paragon Centre on Orchard Road in Singapore. The store is located in the building’s new extension, which is soon to be completed. Other stores will include Prada, Burberry, Tod’s and Inez.

The 2,000-square-foot store is twice the size of its predecessor and will carry women’s rtw, men’s wear and accessories. The opening was celebrated with an exhibition of vintage black-and-white Valentino dresses. They included gowns made for Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis and the dress Julia Roberts wore to the Academy Awards two years ago. It is the first time any of the gowns have been seen in Asia.

Although FJ Benjamin, the company that distributes the label in Asia, wouldn’t divulge how much money the store will generate, managing director Douglas Benjamin noted that mounting the exhibition cost $25,000. Still, most of the 250 socialites and shoppers did not turn up to see the store. Instead, it was Naomi Campbell, who drew crowds. Wearing a classic red Valentino gown, Campbell attended the opening with her boyfriend, Matteo Marzotto, who is general manager of Valentino SpA.From Singapore, Campbell and Marzotto flew to Hong Kong, where Valentino has two stores. The company also has a store in South Korea and two in Japan.

— Constance Haisma-Kwok

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