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Cone Denim Names McKenna To Lead, Nets Funding For Nicaragua Plant

Thomas E. McKenna has been named to succeed John L. Bakane as president of the Cone Denim division of Greensboro, N.C.-based International Textile Group (ITG). Bakane retired from the company in December 2007.

McKenna began his career with ITG Cone Denim in 1981 as a sales representative in New York City for the company’s predecessor, Cone Mills. After holding sales and management positions in the United States, he opened the company’s first international sales office in Brussels, and in 1995 moved to Singapore to become director of marketing for the Asia/Pacific region. Later returning to the United States, he assumed several executive positions including executive vice president, denim merchandising and marketing, for Cone Mills; and was promoted to president, sales and marketing, for Cone Denim following the formation of ITG in 2004 through the merger of Cone Mills and Burlington Industries.

In other news, Cone Denim Nicaragua (CDN), has received a syndicated loan of up to $37 million through the Inter-American Investment Corp. (IIC) to help it complete a 600,000-square-foot vertical manufacturing facility near Nicaragua’s capital, Managua. The plant will house the first denim production operation in Central America, providing 850 jobs and producing 28 million yards of denim per year once it becomes fully operational.

Washington-based IIC, a multilateral financial institution and a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, will provide up to $15 million of the funding. Nicaraguan banks Banco de la Producción S.A., Banco de America Central S.A., Banco de Credito Centroamericano S.A. and Banco HSBC Nicaragua S.A. will provide $22 million.

 “We are excited about our partnership with the IIC and the Nicaraguan banks to finance the CDN project,” said ITG Executive Vice President Gary Smith. “We believe that the CDN project and the financing support within the region is the model for future investments in the region by other companies seeking to realize upon opportunities in Central America to competitively supply the US market.”

“We are also very excited about our Cone Denim Nicaragua facility and the value and capabilities it will provide to our customers in the Central American supply chain,” said Matt Hayes, vice president, Denim Manufacturing – Latin America. Hayes said production is expected to begin this quarter.

January/February 2008