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Thomaston Mills Announces Reorganization And Downsizing

Thomaston Mills Inc., Thomaston, Ga., recently announced a reorganization and downsizing of the companys business to be implemented by September 1.The reorganization plan requires the closing of the Thomaston and Pike Divisions, Zebulon, Ga., and the downsizing of related finishing areas for denim.The company will also downsize the related sales and administrative areas to keep SG&A costs in line with reduced sales.According to company President and CEO Neil H. Hightower, Thomaston will continue to concentrate on the home furnishings and piece-dyed markets and, as part of the reorganization, the company will exit the industrial, sales yarn and denim markets. The company will continue to manufacture, ship and service customers in these areas until September 1, Hightower said.The decision to exit these markets is a difficult one for us, Hightower said. However, we find it necessary due to the continued influx of imports into our domestic markets and the uncertainties relative to the Asian financial crisis and the World Trade Organization (WTO). These factors have prevented the company from achieving its earnings objectives in the industrial, sales yarn and denim businesses.Eastbank Trading Co., Macon, Ga., announced it has acquired the Industrial and Recreational Fabrics business of Thomaston Mills.David Wright, formerly sales manager of that division has joined Eastbank as marketing manager, Specialty Industrial Fabrics.According to Charles C. Hertwig Jr., chairman and CEO, Eastbank will continue the production of these fabrics at established facilities in the southeastern United States.The impact of Thomastons reduction will be the elimination of approximately 700 of the current 2,350 employees at Pike and Thomaston, as well as the New York and Los Angeles sales offices."We are very sensitive to the impact this will have on many fine employees who have been loyal to our company and the impact on the communities where our facilities are located," Hightower said."We will be coordinating as many services and benefits for displaced employees as possible during this reduction and will work for placement through recall as normal company attrition occurs or placement with other employers."

August 1999