GOING FOR GOLD TOE: Renfro Corp. might not be the only manufacturer interested in purchasing Gold Toe, the sock and tights label of Great American Knitting Mills, a unit of Bidermann Industries U.S.A. As reported, industry sources said early this month that Renfro was negotiating to buy Gold Toe. Executives from both firms declined to comment.
Now, sources say, Alba-Waldensian Inc., a Valdese, N.C.-based hosiery manufacturer, is also a suitor. Thomas Schuster, Alba-Waldensian president and chief executive officer, wouldn’t say whether the company was negotiating to buy Gold Toe, but he said the firm was “actively” looking to acquire a department store sock brand.
“We have virtually no long-term debt. We have more credit than we know what to do with,” he said. “We could finance a deal…certainly one big enough to acquire Gold Toe.”
Jim Williams, president of Great American Knitting, said he has not spoken with executives from Alba-Waldensian. “If they are interested, I’m not aware of it,” he said.
In the past year, Schuster said, Alba-Waldensian has had formal meetings with executives from a sock manufacturer and a sheer hosiery manufacturer. Schuster declined to name the companies.
Schuster was president of Gold Toe from 1983 through 1986.
He said he has no target date for completing an acquisition. “It all depends on when we find the right company,” he said. In the first nine months of 1994, Alba-Waldensian posted sales of $42.8 million. The company, founded in 1901, manufactures and distributes hosiery and innerwear under its All Day Long, While You Wait and Big Beautiful Women labels. The firm’s stock is traded on the American Stock Exchange.