CONE CUTS: Bankrupt Cone Mills Corp. said late Wednesday that it will close two North Carolina plants and cut back on denim production at a third, resulting in a loss of 625 jobs. The plants to be shuttered are the Cliffside Finishing and Haynes facilities, while manufacturing will be scaled back at the Cliffside Weave factory. All are located in Rutherford County. Chief executive John Bakane said the moves are being made to help Cone meet the challenge of an “unprecedented onslaught of cheap imports.”

INVESTMENT DIVESTMENT: Hampshire Group sold off certain assets of its Hampshire Investments subsidiary to K Holdings, a company controlled by Hampshire’s chairman and chief executive, Ludwig Kuttner, for 250,000 shares of Hampshire stock. The firm also sold all common stock of the unit to an investment group that included Kuttner, Hampshire director Peter Woodworth and treasurer Charles Clayton for 450,000 shares of Hampshire’s common stock. Shares of the firm closed down 38 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $33.77 in Nasdaq trading before the after-market announcement Wednesday. That closing price valued the investment business at $23.6 million. In all, the firm will incur losses from discontinued operations of roughly $6.5 million from the two transactions. The move was approved by a special committee of the firm’s board, made up of four independent directors, which had input from investment banking firm Shattuck Hammond Partners.

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