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Avondale Sells Trucking Division, Woodhead Plant

Monroe, Ga.-based Avondale Mills Inc. has announced the sale of its Trucking Division in Sylacauga, Ala., and its Woodhead Division in Graniteville, S.C.

The company, which shut down its textile manufacturing operations on July 25 after 161 years in business, has sold the Trucking Division to Mauldin, S.C.-based textile manufacturer Mount Vernon Mills Inc. The sale includes approximately 60 trucks and more than 350 trailers. The division’s workforce comprises more than 100 employees.

Avondale has sold its Woodhead Division — a specialty coating operation for such applications as boat covers, tents and tarps — to Aiken, S.C., businessman Weldon Wyatt and a group of investors. The business, which has been renamed Graniteville Specialty Fabrics, employs more than 100 workers.

Together with the previously announced sale of three linked ring-spinning plants to Gastonia, N.C.-based Parkdale Mills Inc., the sales are saving more than 900 of the approximately 4,000 jobs that have been impacted by the shutdown, which the company said was made necessary primarily as a result of damage caused by a devastating train derailment in January 2005 outside one of its Graniteville plants. The accident caused a spill of chlorine gas that killed several employees and caused insurmountable damage to the facility.

“We are very pleased to announce these transactions to preserve jobs that would have been lost and to help local economies that would have been hurt with plant shutdowns,” said Stephen Felker Jr., manager, corporate development, Avondale. “We are continuing to negotiate other transactions to save even more jobs.”

September/October 2006