Byline: Scott Malone

NEW YORK — Kicking off a fifth round of price hikes on polyester filament, DuPont on Wednesday said it would increase its prices for Dacron-brand filament yarns by 5 to 15 percent, effective with August shipments.
In a statement, the Wilmington, Del.-based company said the hike was made necessary by the ongoing rise in the price of petroleum, a key raw material for polyester and other synthetic fibers.
“Despite aggressive restructuring and efforts to improve productivity in response to these cost pressures, current prices are not at a level that will support reinvestment and product renewal,” the company said.
A spokeswoman for Wellman Inc., another major U.S. polyester maker, said late Wednesday that the company was currently reviewing its pricing. A KoSa spokeswoman said her company was doing likewise. Representatives of Nan Ya Plastics Corp., America, did not return phone calls by press time.
For more than a year, the four companies have repeatedly raised their prices on polyester filament and staple as a result of rising oil prices. They last moved to increase filament prices in March.
Polyester makers are by no means the only fiber producers feeling the squeeze of rising oil costs. Manufacturers of nylon, acrylic and other synthetic fibers have sought to raise their rates over the past year.
DuPont last week said it would seek an 8 to 10 percent increase in nylon prices. In response to that news, nylon maker BASF Corp. issued a statement saying that it is studying the situation, but stopped short of announcing another increase.
The company said it believes there is an “urgent need” to stop the margin erosion in the nylon business.
“Despite our focused, ongoing efforts to reduce costs, we have been unable to keep pace with these various raw materials increases,” said Bill Scott, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company’s director of nylon textile and automotive products. “All synthetic fiber producers are facing the same pressures and resulting margin erosion.”
While mill executives at first scoffed at the idea of fiber price hikes, over the past year they have become more reconciled to them, and some now talk openly of trying to up their prices in response, despite the pressure from lower-price foreign competitors.
Burlington Industries Inc. last month cited the rising cost of synthetic fibers as prompting it to seek to raise prices at its Performance Wear division. However, after warning that it expected second-half results to fall below Wall Street projections, company officials said they’d be reconsidering that move.

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