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Israeli firm buys Nylstar

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

By AMANDA BUCK - Bulletin Staff Writer

Nylstar, a nylon manufacturer in the Martinsville Industrial Park, has been purchased by an Israeli company called Nilit.

Nylstar announced the purchase Tuesday. The Martinsville plant will be Nilit's first manufacturing facility in the United States, according to a news release and Basil B. "Sonny" Walker, Nylstar's president.

The sale will protect the jobs of Nylstar's 210 employees and generally is "very good for us," said Walker, who has been named president of Nilit U.S.

"The significance for us is that we're now owned by a global nylon industry (leader)," he said. "That gives us a more secure, brighter future."�

Before Nilit bought the company for an undisclosed amount, Nylstar had been owned by J.P. Morgan for about a year and a half, Walker said. J.P. Morgan acquired Nylstar when it took over the assets of Bear Stearns, the company's previous owner.

Nylstar had been up for sale, Walker said, and Nilit is an ideal buyer.

"It was a happy day when we concluded this sale," he said. "We're still in the textile business, so it's still competitive, but the fact we have an owner now who wants to be in the fibers business and wants to be in the U.S." bodes well for the company's future.

Nilit Ltd. is a privately owned company with headquarters in Israel and offices in Italy, Germany, France, Latin America, Turkey, the United States and Asia Pacific, the release said. Last year, it opened a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China.

The company has been selling fiber in the United States for years, but the fiber was produced overseas, Walker said. Having a production facility here "opens up new markets for them," including military contracts and others.

"Having the Martinsville facility as part of the Nilit network will expand our ability to service our growing North American customer base, our U.S. partners as well as other customers around the world," Arie Gottlieb, Nilit's general manager, said in the release.

No hiring or expansions are planned for now, but "we do always have the possibility of expansion," Walker said.

Nilit makes "branded performance yarns" for intimate apparel, bodywear, legwear and activewear, the release said. The acquisition of Nylstar will "complement and expand" the company's portfolio, it said, adding that Nylstar makes nylon yarns in a broad range of filament counts, lusters and cross-section type.

"The addition of this U.S. plant will become a part of (Nilit's) global production facility network, demonstrating its confidence and investment in the nylon apparel industry throughout the world. With the Nylstar acquisition, Nilit becomes one of the world's largest nylon 6.6 producers for the apparel industry," the release said.

Nylon 6.6 is one of two types of nylon. It is used in the apparel garment industry, Walker said.


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