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Asahi Kasei To Shutter U.S. Spandex Operation

Asahi Kasei Fibers Corp. — one of nine core businesses operated by Japan-based conglomerate Asahi Kasei Corp. — has announced it will discontinue spandex production at its U.S. subsidiary, Asahi Kasei Spandex America Inc., Goose Creek, S.C., effective October 2012. The action, which will result in the loss of 133 jobs, is part of a restructuring strategy influenced by a global oversupply of spandex in tandem with high feedstock prices, and by weak market demand in the United States since the global financial crisis of 2008 and expectations that no major recovery will occur in the U.S. market in the foreseeable future.

Asahi Kasei Fibers acquired the Goose Creek operation in 2006, when it purchased the Dorlastan® fibers business, which also includes a spandex manufacturing site in Germany, from Germany-based Lanxess AG. Asahi Kasei has continued to market spandex from those two facilities under the Dorlastan brand, and the site in Germany will continue to produce Dorlastan for the markets it serves.

The company also produces spandex under its Roica™ brand at four facilities in Asia including sites in Japan, Taiwan, China and Thailand.

With the closing of the Goose Creek facility, only one spandex producer will remain in the United States and in the region covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. Wichita, Kan.-based Invista produces Lycra® spandex at facilities in Waynesboro, Va., and in Monterrey, Mexico.

August 7, 2012