SWATCHES

ONLINE ALLIANCE: The upcoming Material World textile trade show and Etexx.com, a new business-to-business e-commerce Web site, have formed a marketing alliance.
Under the agreement, Etexx.com will host a virtual trade show, allowing Material World exhibitors to promote their companies online. Etexx.com has already hosted a virtual connection with Tissu Premier, a regional French textile trade show.
Material World is produced by Fairchild Urban Expositions, based in Atlanta, a partnership of Fairchild Publications Inc., which publishes WWD, and Urban Expositions & Development.
Doug Miller, president of Fairchild Urban Expositions, said, “Etexx will expand and augment the show’s on-site excitement by providing a technological venue for professionals to preview trends, review samples and order swatches.”
The first edition of Material World is to run Sept. 25-27 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach.

CELANESE’S PROFIT PICTURE: Celanese AG reported a return to profitability in the first quarter and said it expected to post an operating profit for the year.
The Frankfurt company, with U.S. headquarters in Summit, N.J., reported net earnings from continuing operations of $19.9 million compared with a $35.4 million loss on continuing operations in the prior-year quarter. Figures are converted from the euro at current exchange.
Sales were $1.08 billion, up 24.3 percent from $868.5 million. The company attributed the increase to a 7 percent volume increase, a 6 percent rise in average selling prices and a 12 percent boost related to currency fluctuations.
The company noted that its acetate-products segment posted a “substantial increase” in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization, excluding special charges.
“Although we were able to increase prices for several of our products in the first quarter and to improve margins somewhat, we still face the challenges of high raw material costs and an imbalance between supply and demand in some of our markets,” chief executive officer Claudio Sonder said in a statement. “Accordingly, we are cautious as far as second-quarter results are concerned. For the full year, we expect to achieve a positive operating profit.”

WOOLITE’S SCHOLARS: At a ceremony early this month, Woolite awarded $24,000 in scholarships to four Parsons School of Design juniors. The awards were for innovation in designing washable contemporary clothing.
The grand prize, a $10,000 scholarship, went to Mimi Sloan of New Mexico. Chau Kwok of New York took first prize, $7,000. The second-prize award of $5,000 went to Brooke Campbell of New York. Etel Pesina of Russia took third prize, $2,000.
Three students were given honorable mention and a $200 gift certificate for the college’s art store. They were Michelle Kim of New Jersey, Nahid Rupani of Sweden and Belen Molinaro of Spain. More than 50 students entered the contest.