Hyosung Plans Western Push

Shoppers might not know the Creora spandex brand, but mill owners and apparel manufacturers are about to get acquainted with it.

NEW YORK — Shoppers might not know the Creora spandex brand now or anytime soon, but mill owners and apparel manufacturers are about to get more acquainted with it.

 Creora is owned by Seoul, South Korea-based Hyosung and appeared on the spandex scene in 1992. It is the number two producer in the world behind Lycra spandex maker Invista, with a production capacity of about 50 kilotons or a little more than 20 percent of the overall world capacity, said Gregory Vas Nunes, president of Hyosung’s spandex division for Europe and the Americas.

Vas Nunes, who served as vice president of Asia-Pacific apparel at Invista before joining Hyosung, doesn’t plan on trying to mimic his former employer’s strategy in his new post.

“Invista has built its [Lycra spandex] model on a consumer brand,” Vas Nunes said. “We will not be a consumer brand. We will chose to be the preeminent trade brand.”

Vas Nunes will appeal to mills, trying to make their lives easier by adding more people to work with them and, when desired, promote their fabrics that incorporate Creora to the manufacturers. He described this as “trying to serve our customers the way they want to be served.”

Vas Nunes’ position is a new one and reflects the firm’s desire to grow its position outside Asia. Additional services will also help Creora fend off pricing pressures, an area of intense interest to spandex producers given the rising price of petroleum, one of the fiber’s key ingredients.

Vas Nunes will be hiring six to eight senior executives to oversee regions such as the U.S., South America and Europe, increasing advertising efforts and adding other production facilities to complement plants in South Korea and China.

“We’re going to be adding not only in Asia, but here, Europe and North America,” Vas Nunes said. The additions could come in the form of acquisitions or facilities built from scratch.

Vas Nunes, whose operation is based at 1 Penn Plaza in Manhattan, already has a large foundation to build upon with the parent company.

Last year, textiles, including spandex, polyester and nylon, constituted $890 million of Hyosung’s $4.21 billion in sales from a diversified assortment of businesses such as chemicals, industrial materials and construction. Currency fluctuations and increased raw material costs held the division to an operating loss of $12 million for the year. (Dollar figures were converted from the won at average exchange).

This story first appeared in the March 22, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Textiles is a place they want to be,” he said.

The company will be boosting the business with a variety of new investments, Vas Nunes said, including a two to threefold increase in marketing spending over the next couple of years.