ESTEE CALLING: Estée Lauder said it will save approximately $14.9 million in the fiscal year ended June 2005 after calling for the redemption of all $291.6 million in series A cumulative redeemable preferred stock currently eligible for redemption. Moreover, upon the redemption of the stock on June 10, the dividend rate on the remaining shares will be reduced, adding to the company’s savings. In a related matter, Lauder said it will increase its stock repurchase program by another 10 million class A shares. Lauder is now authorized by its board to buy back up to 28 million shares, or 10 percent of its total outstanding stock. As of Tuesday, Lauder had repurchased 16.3 million shares, the company said.
SYRIAN BAN: President Bush, cracking down on the Syrian government for allegedly supporting terrorist groups and pursuing chemical and biological weapons, imposed a ban Tuesday on all U.S. exports to the country, except food and medicine. The ban would cover a miniscule amount of U.S. textile exports to Syria, which totaled $6.1 million in 2003, the majority of which was filament yarn, according to Commerce Department figures. The sanctions are primarily aimed at prohibiting the export to Syria of any chemicals, arms and defense weapons, ammunition, nuclear technology, propulsion equipment, lasers and other “dual-use” items that have military applications.
UNIFI LIKES SARA LEE’S NYLON: Unifi Inc. acquired certain hosiery yarn and texturing assets of Sara Lee Branded Apparel for $2.6 million on Monday. Unifi also entered into a long-term agreement to supply nylon to the hosiery manufacturer. Terms of that agreement were not disclosed. Production shifts to Unifi’s Madison, N.C., facility by July 16, where about 170 positions are expected to be added. A Sara Lee spokeswoman said the Darlington, S.C., facility, where about 120 work, would then be closed. About 70 positions in Clarksville, Ark., will also be affected. The spokeswoman said Unifi would help relocate employees interested in making the move and transfer their seniority while Sara Lee pays them severance. The deal is expected to boost sales at Unifi’s nylon yarn division by more than 20 percent. Sales at the division were about $225 million last year.