DUPONT WILL RAISE LYCRA PRICES

Byline: Stuart Chirls

NEW YORK — DuPont said Friday it will increase the price of Lycra spandex yarns 6 percent in December, the first such hike for the elastomer since 1992.
The increase affects products for the circular knit, core spinning, covered yarn and legwear segments, and is effective for shipments on or after Dec. 27.
“Lycra has pursued a significant redesign of our product line to bring value to our customers,” said Wally McWalter, Lycra regional director, North America, in a statement. “The demand for Lycra has grown as a direct result of our investment in state-of-the-art research and development, innovative new products and our strong consumer brand recognition by consumers at retail. This growth has and will continue to benefit the entire value chain.”
Lycra yarns for the warp-knit market segment are not included in the increase “Warp knits are one of our largest Lycra end-use segments,” said a DuPont spokeswoman. “There are no plans at present to increase prices, but we are looking at ’98.”
DuPont is in the process of upgrading its Lycra production. In June it opened a plant in Waynesboro, Va., that utilizes new spinning technology that will also be installed in expansions planned for Lycra manufacturing sites in Singapore and Maydown, Northern Ireland.
“I expect that they would probably wait to see what kind of damage this increase does before they move on warp knits,” said Neal Tilmont, executive vice president of Darlington. “I would expect some increase in the late first quarter of ’98. Even though DuPont is a leading producer of spandex, it’s a different world when you have competition.”
Bayer Corp., which makes Dorlastan spandex, has no immediate plans to follow DuPont’s lead, but an executive said increases are possible next year.
“We are looking at this and discussing it with our customers,” said James Heslep 3rd, director of marketing for Bayer.
“We see some of our spandex prices moving up in ’98, although we don’t know exactly in what segments they will be. There is a tremendous market out there that is expanding, and that is the best thing for our business,” he said.
Executives of Globe Manufacturing, the other domestic spandex producer, were not immediately available for comment.

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