SWATCHES

NO BONUSES AT UNIFI: The six top-paid executives at Unifi Inc. received no bonuses for the Greensboro, N.C.-based company’s most recent fiscal year, according to the company’s proxy statement recently filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
The company’s top-paid executive for the year ended June 27 was founder Allen Mebane, who is set to step down as chairman at the end of this month. Mebane received a total of $900,140 in salary and other annual cash compensation. That’s down less than 1 percent from the $905,805 he received the prior year.
Brian Parke, who succeeded Mebane as chief executive in January and also holds the title of president, was paid $584,395 in salary and other cash compensation for the year. That’s up 22.6 percent from $476,811 he was paid the prior year.
According to the proxy, the company’s compensation committee set his annual base salary at $750,000, slightly lower than Mebane’s $800,000 base pay.
Neither Parke, Mebane nor any of the company’s other top-paid officers exercised stock options in the past fiscal year.

UNIFI, SANS IN VENTURE: In other Unifi news, last month the company agreed to enter into a nylon joint venture with SANS Fibres, a Belleville, South Africa-based maker of polyester and nylon fibers.
Operating under the name of Unifi-SANS Technical Fibers LLC, the venture will manufacture and sell industrial grades of nylon 6,6, including sewing thread. Unifi will oversee the day-to-day manufacturing operations of new spinning and twisting equipment to be installed in its existing Madison, N.C., plant while SANS will handle technical support and sales.
In a statement, the companies said the venture would have an annual capacity of 4,800 tons.
SANS managing director Thus Loubser said in the statement, “A manufacturing platform within the U.S. is critical to our competitive position in the world of industrial fibers.”
Unifi, historically a domestic yarn texturizer, over the past year has made a number of moves to increase its international presence as well as to manufacture more of its own fibers. Most notably, it has entered into a polyester filament-making joint venture with DuPont that contains a provision allowing Unifi to buy the chemicals giant’s filament polyester operations.
Unifi has also entered recently into ventures in Israel with Nilit and in Asia with Hankook Synthetics.
The venture with Unifi was not SANS’s only expansion last month. It also agreed to buy Solutia Inc.’s light-denier nylon industrial yarns business. It plans to build a new nylon 6,6 plant in North Carolina to serve this new business. Solutia said it would be among the business’s first customers.
Officials of St. Louis-based Solutia said that there are about 200 employees in its Greenwood, S.C., nylon yarn-making operation, which will be closed over the next two years.

NYSE TO DROP WORLDTEX: Narrow- and covered-elastics maker Worldtex Inc. last week said it has been informed by New York Stock Exchange officials that the exchange will suspend trading in Worldtex shares by Friday. Following that, the Big Board will seek to delist the issue.
The moves follow the exchange’s July warning to the company that it would be delisted if it failed to meet NYSE’s new listing standards.
Those standards include a total market capitalization of $50 million; as of late last week Worldtex’s market capitalization was hovering at a point below $4 million.
Worldtex shares have fallen precipitously over the past four years, from a high of around $10 in early 1997. Early this year, the stock rallied somewhat, hitting a high of $2.75 in February, but it has since dropped again.
In Monday’s trading, Worldtex shares closed at 19 cents, off 13 cents.
Indeed, given the extremely difficult market conditions of recent years and the meager financial returns that they’ve seen, most publicly traded U.S. textile companies have seen their stocks fall to very low levels.
A number of textile stocks have lost their place on major exchanges, most notable among them Dyersburg Corp., Forstmann & Co. and Texfi Inc.
In a statement, Hickory, N.C.-based Worldtex said it expects its shares will be listed on the over-the-counter bulletin board or on the National Quotation Bureau.

GLOBE FORBEARANCE EXTENDED: Spandex maker Globe Manufacturing Corp. said it has reached an agreement with its bank lenders to extend its forbearance agreement through Dec. 31.
Due to that agreement, the company’s bank lenders will not exercise remedies available to them as a result of the Fall River, Mass.-based company’s failure to comply with the covenants and payment terms of its credit agreement.
“We are working hard and making progress at developing a restructuring plan that will reduce our debt and help us continue to be a top competitor in the fiber industry,” said Globe ceo Richard Heitmiller, in a statement. “During the restructuring process, the company intends to meet all obligations of trade creditors and employees.”
Heavy debt loads have taken their toll on the industry this year. Knitters Dyersburg Corp. and Glenoit Corp. have both filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in an effort to bring their debt under control.

NEW CELANESE BRAND: Celanese Acetate and Sapona Manufacturing Co. Inc. have introduced a new brand of blended acetate yarns they will sell under the Celanna name.
Dean Lail, president of Cedar Falls, N.C.-based Sapona, said his company decided to develop the yarns, which include blends of acetate and nylon, as well as acetate and spandex, after investing in more flexible winding machines.
The yarns will initially be marketed at makers of intimate apparel and soft-tailored knitted sportswear, Lail said, adding that he’d like them to make the transition into the woven-fabrics realm as well.

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