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SWATCHES

NEW LENZING CEO: Rayon maker Lenzing Fibers Corp. has named Peter Landl as its new president and chief executive officer, replacing Cal Bonawitz, who retired June 15. Landl is based at the company's U.S. headquarters in Lowland, Tenn.<P>Landl has been...

NEW LENZING CEO: Rayon maker Lenzing Fibers Corp. has named Peter Landl as its new president and chief executive officer, replacing Cal Bonawitz, who retired June 15. Landl is based at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Lowland, Tenn.

Landl has been with the firm since 1992 and most recently was executive vice president and chief financial officer. In his new role, he reports to chairman Craig Baker.

Upon his retirement, Bonawitz was appointed to the Lenzing board.

GREENBLATT DEAL CLOSES: Los Angeles-based converter H. Greenblatt & Co. late last month closed on its acquisition of bankrupt Guilford Mills Inc.’s Twin Rivers printing plant in Schenectady, N.Y., as well as Guilford’s converting business, including its copyrights and artwork. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Greenblatt owner Howard Greenblatt said all of the approximately 40 plant employees will keep their jobs.

Greenblatt, who founded his converting company six years ago after a 20-year career at Guilford, said the decision to buy the factory came about after a serendipitous chain of events.

“When I saw Guilford going into its steep slide from the middle of last year, I went into negotiations to just buy the converting business, the [printing] screens and artwork,” he said. “I had no intention of buying the plant.”

He was unable to reach a deal last year to purchase the converting business, but in December agreed to become the sole agent for that operation. After inking that deal, he visited the Twin Rivers plant and was impressed by its modern equipment.

“They had invested $8 million or $9 million in that plant over the last six years,” he said.

Once he had seen the facility, he decided he was interested in buying it and entered into negotiations. A deal had almost been struck when Guilford filed its Chapter 11 petition in March. That put the sale into a long list of actions that had to be approved by the bankruptcy court.

At a time when so many textile companies are going under, Greenblatt said he believes it makes sense for a converter to buy its own printing plant because it lifts the worry that the company will be unable to fill orders if its outside printing suppliers close their doors.

While he noted that his company continues to contract out some printing, he said, “I believe there is going to be, ultimately, a shortage of good printing in this country.”

GUILFORD BOOKS LOSSES: Guilford Mills Inc. recorded $50 million in net losses on sales of $58.8 million during its first two months operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Greensboro, N.C.-based knitting mill disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy on March 13, said it recorded a $48.2 million net loss in March, after paying $24.6 million in restructuring costs and a $1.8 million net loss in April. Since entering bankruptcy, Guilford has decided to shut mills in Altamira, Mexico, and Lumberton, N.C. The firm also shut several domestic manufacturing facilities last year. Guilford closed its last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, with a net loss of $160.8 million on sales of $643.5 million.

FOREIGN FIRMS HEADED TO N.Y.: The third week of July will find a slew of overseas mills and fabric vendors in Manhattan exhibiting at trade shows. The events are clustered around European Preview, which runs July 17-19 at the Metropolitan Pavilion and provides an early look at the fall 2003 collections of international fashion fabric mills that will be unveiled at Premiere Vision in Paris in September.

The Turkish Fashion Fabric Exhibition is set to run July 15-17 at Cipriani restaurant on East 42nd Street. Rayon maker Lenzing plans to sponsor an exhibit of Korean mills on July 16-18 at the Millennium Hotel. Closing the week on July 18-19 will be Pan Textiles, an exhibition of Taiwanese fabric suppliers at the Penn Plaza Hotel.

Innovation Asia, a three-day show consisting of mills from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, sponsored by lyocell maker Tencel, is set to run at Tonic restaurant, across the street from Metropolitan Pavilion, July 16-18.

PANTONE’S NEW PALETTE: Colors in the new Pantone Colour Planner for fall-winter 2003-2004, “represent the complexities and dichotomies in our lives,” according to Tod Sculman, director of marketing for the Pantone Textile Color System. “We are still looking to nostalgia and all things familiar for comfort.When it comes to color, the classic shades have come out in force to prove this. We are no longer seeing audacious brights in clashing combinations. The palettes for the season are tonal and monochromatic — familiar, classic and comfortable. And while we do see some bold shades here and there, they are always in combination with muted, dusty tones and neutrals.” Of the nine color groups, the most directional are Sidereal, which includes chalk blue, midnight and smoked pearl; Poetic, which includes copper, russet brown and cinnabar, and Virtual, which includes champagne, almond blossom, sulphur yellow and tea rose. Both Sidereal and Poetic evoke comfort, peace and familiarity, while Virtual falls under the groupings that connote excitement, liveliness and speed.

RADICISPANDEX FEELS THE HEAT: RadiciSpandex said it has developed a new spandex fiber, called Type 2 45, that can be used to produce deep, rich colors in a polyester-and-spandex blend fabric without disintegrating the spandex and causing streaking and spotting. Bill Girrier, vice president of marketing for the spandex maker, said: “Type S 45 is a multipurpose fiber specifically formulated to provide protection from the damaging effects of dyeing at elevated temperatures.” The first converter to adopt the new fiber is Cyberknit, a division of Paul Gottlieb & Co. Inc.