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ITG Partners With OCM India, Launches China Denim Venture

The Burlington WorldWide (BWW) division of International Textile Group Inc. (ITG), Greensboro, N.C., and India-based worsted wool fabric maker OCM India Ltd. have formed a partnership to help OCM set up state-of-the-art manufacturing operations and develop and market new wool fabrics that use BWW’s fabric technologies. As part of the partnership, BWW also will develop and run an export program to sell OCM fabrics in the United States, Europe and Asia; and OCM will be licensed to manufacture and sell enhanced wool fabrics in India under the BURLINGTON® brand.

Both companies are owned by investment firm WL Ross & Co. LLC, New York City — ITG having been created by the 2004 merger of Burlington Industries and Cone Mills, acquired in 2003; and OCM having been acquired earlier this year.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to expand ITG’s footprint into the growing Indian market and provide an additional supply chain of products for the US and European markets,” said Wilbur L. Ross Jr., chairman, ITG. “[BWW’s] expertise in wool manufacturing and new fabric development will further OCM’s operations and breadth of product to grow a global wool platform for both companies.”

In other news, ITG’s Cone Denim division has opened Cone Denim Jiaxing (CDJ), a China-based joint venture owned 51-percent by Cone Denim and 49-percent by Hong Kong-based Novel Holdings Ltd., formed in 1964 to hold the interests, including textile and apparel and other businesses, of the Chou family. The fully vertical CDJ operation will process some 28 million yards of fabric per year and employ 900 people.

CDJ is one of four ITG operations in the Asia-Pacific region, the others being the Jiaxing Burlington Textile Ltd. apparel and interior fabric dyeing and finishing facility; an air bag cushion production facility in China; and a Vietnam-based cotton fabric and garment complex that is partially operational, with full ramp-up expected by mid-2008.  A denim fabric production facility under construction in Nicaragua is expected to open by the end of this year.

“Our focus this year has been on expanding our footprint and putting into place the strategic pieces of an extensive global supply chain,” said Joseph L. Gorga, ITG’s president and CEO, noting that the company’s offshore greenfield initiatives will help it better serve its customers’ needs globally.

November/December 2007