By  on July 8, 2008

MILLIKEN ANNOUNCES INCREASES: Milliken & Co. said it will increase prices by as much as 15 percent for all its products. Management cited "unprecedented increases" in the cost of raw materials, energy and transporting goods as reason for the move.

"Our initial and ongoing efforts to address these challenges have been focused on resisting increases, improving our productivity, and aggressively pursuing cost avoidance and savings opportunities," said Joe Salley, president and chief executive officer. "However, the speed and magnitude of recent cost escalations make it impossible for us to maintain our current pricing."

Based in Spartanburg, S.C., Milliken is one of the largest privately held textile and chemical companies in the world. Its apparel fabrics include dyed and finished, knit and woven fabrics of polyester, nylon, cotton, cotton blends and synthetic-spandex blends for the women's, men's and children's markets.

AUSTRALIAN WOOL DECLINES: Australian wool production levels are expected to decrease by 4 percent for the 2008-'09 season because of rising grain prices and drought. Shorn wool production for the season is expected to come in at 385 million kilograms, or 848.8 million pounds.

"Once again, parts of eastern Australia have started the pasture growing season with rainfall well below normal," said Russell Pattinson, chairman of Australian Wool Innovation's production forecasting committee. "The most extreme example of this is Tasmania, with the southern region and East Coast continuing to be ravaged by one of the worst droughts in living memory."

The drought is prompting more farmers to slaughter their sheep and shift to farming crops. AWI, the Australian wool industry's research and development arm, also announced that Ian McLachlan, who served as chairman from November 2002 to April 2008, has retired.

NILIT OPENS CHINA FACILITY: Nilit, a 34-year-old manufacturer of nylon 6.6 polyamide fibers based in Migdal Ha'emek, Israel, celebrated the opening of a new facility in Suzhou, China, on June 3. The 108,000-square-foot factory will initially produce textured nylon before expanding into spinning. The opening attracted more than 150 people, including executives and local officials, and also featured a fashion show of innerwear and activewear products from Nilit's design laboratory.CREORA SPANDEX GROWS IN VIETNAM: South Korean conglomerate Hyosung has started production of its Creora brand spandex at a new facility in Vietnam. In late 2007, the company said it planned to invest $100 million for a new plant near Ho Chi Minh City capable of producing 15,000 tons of spandex annually.

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