CREORA TAPS FORMER DUPONT EXECS: Creora spandex has enlisted two DuPont marketing alums to spearhead its expansion in North America and Europe.

Creora, a subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate Hyosung Corp., has appointed Ria Stern as director of North American marketing and global brands, and Stephanie Ledru as director of European marketing and brands.

Stern most recently served as North American marketing director for Invista, the world’s largest producer of spandex under the Lycra brand name. Prior to that, Stern spent 15 of her 20 career years with DuPont working in the company’s textile businesses. Ledru comes to the company from the DuPont-SA joint venture that owned the European rights to the Coolmax brand. Ledru served as European marketing and communications manager.

Greg Vas Nunes, president of Hyosung’s spandex division for Europe and the Americas, announced recently that he planned on appointing six to eight senior executives to oversee various regions. Vas Nunes also said he planned to increase advertising efforts and was looking to add production facilities to complement plants in South Korea and China. He said in a statement that the additions of Stern and Ledru “will provide an overnight step-change in Hyosung’s brand and marketing capabilities.”

Creora entered the spandex market in 1992 and has become the second-largest producer in the world, with a production capacity of about 50 kilotons, or a little more than 20 percent of the overall world capacity. Last year, textiles, including spandex, polyester and nylon, constituted $890 million of Hyosung’s $4.21 billion in sales from a diversified assortment of businesses, such as chemicals, industrial materials and construction.
— Ross Tucker

U.N. REPORT URGES ASIAN ALLIANCES: A United Nations report last month called on companies to avoid moving production into China too rapidly and urged China and India to cooperate with their smaller neighbors to ensure that the region’s economy continues to grow.

Although the nations of the World Trade Organization dropped textile and apparel quotas on Jan. 1, the study warned that it is not clear how sourcing strategies will change.

The report said more declines in apparel prices, squeezing industry profit margins, will allow larger producers such as China, India and Pakistan “to be more price-competitive through economies of scale.”

This story first appeared in the May 17, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The outlook for smaller and more vulnerable producers in the region, such as Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, will require the governments to redouble their efforts to strengthen their respective industries and seek niche markets.

Though shifts in trading patterns are not expected to happen overnight, poor textile- and apparel-dependent economies “could lose out” if they fail to act, the survey said. It suggested forging alliances with more competitive producers in the region as a means to achieve greater integration and said China and India “have an important role to play” through active partnerships with smaller countries.

The strong economic prospects for China and India indicate the challenge for the impoverished countries is daunting, U.N. economists said.

The report, compiled by the U.N. Economic & Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, projected that China’s economy would grow by 8.5 percent this year, with India’s rising 7.2 percent.
— John Zarocostas

GLOBAL COMMERCE TO SLOW: Lower consumption — the result of higher oil prices and interest rates — may slow the growth of the global economy this year, according to a recent World Trade Organization forecast.
The 148-nation body predicted global commerce would grow 6.5 percent this year, compared with a 9 percent increase last year, according to chief WTO economist Patrick Low.

In an interview, senior WTO economist Michael Finger said the Jan. 1 removal of textile and apparel quotas should give overall trade “a small boost.” For demand to rise, he said, “prices have to fall,” but added, “I don’t expect a big drop in retail prices.”

The report projected that the weakness of the U.S. dollar would put the brakes on U.S. import growth, while encouraging U.S. exports.

It noted that overall last year Germany was the world’s top exporter, with its shipments rising 22 percent to $914.8 billion. In second place was the U.S., with a 13 percent increase to $819 billion, followed by China, which overtook Japan by posting a 35 percent increase to $593.4 billion.

The U.S. retained its ranking as the world’s top importer with a 17 percent increase to $1.5 trillion; followed by Germany with $717.5 billion, up 17 percent, and China with $561.4 billion, up 36 percent.
— J.Z.

GILDAN’S PLANT PLANS: Gildan Activewear has decided to defer plans to build a textile plant in Nicaragua and instead will expand its existing facilities in Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

Expanding the existing two plants should be enough to allow Gildan to reach a projected annual production of 37 million dozen T-shirts by the end of the year, chief executive officer Glenn Chamandy said on a conference call. The increased production should also cover the company’s plan to start selling directly to retailers in addition to its traditional wholesale markets.

Chamandy projected sales of 1.5 million dozen T-shirts to the retail market next year and also said that Gildan is considering a new fleece facility in Honduras, which would include a cogeneration electric plant to reduce energy costs.
— Brian Dunn

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