MONTREAL — The Lee Group, a Hong Kong apparel and textiles firm, is moving into North America with an 80,000-square-foot denim fabric plant at Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada.

The unit will operate as a Lee subsidiary known as Goodison Textiles Canada Inc.

The plant, which is slated to come online at the end of 1995, will initially produce denim fabrics for the European market and will eventually produce jeans for Europe and North America, including the U.S., said Peter Ma, director of Goodison.

The project will be carried out in three phases, the first of which involves construction of a $10.2 million plant, along with the installation of 84 looms and a dyeing machine. Initially, the plant’s capacity will be 5.5 million square yards, and about 120 new jobs will be created.

The plant will manufacture various weights of denim, ranging from 4 1/2 ounces to 16 ounces.

The second phase, in 1996, said Ma, will include the doubling of production and the installation of a second dyeing machine. The company will also add an undetermined number of looms, creating an additional 170 new jobs, Ma said.

Phase three, which will begin in 1997, involves the installation of sewing operations to produce jeans and other denim apparel for the European and U.S. markets. Ma said that phase “is still in the planning stages, so we don’t have any details on the sewing operations.”

He said the company decided to locate in New Brunswick because of its proximity to the U.S. market and to other textile operations in Quebec. The Lee Group, founded in 1965, has sales of about $36.5 million and has more than 500 employees throughout Asia in various textile and apparel manufacturing operations.. The denim plant will represents its first production outside of Asia, said Ma.

Ma said there is no significance to the name Goodison.

— Fairchild News Service