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Universal Fibers Acquires FIT's Continuous Filament Bicomponent Assets

Bristol, Va.-based solution-dyed synthetic filament-based fiber manufacturer Universal Fibers Inc. has acquired the continuous filament bicomponent production assets of Johnson City, Tenn.-based bicomponent and customized fiber producer Fiber Innovation Technology Inc. (FIT).

FIT retains its assets related to production of bicomponent and other customized staple fibers.

The newly announced acquisition supports Universal Fibers' market diversification strategy to expand into new market segments, according to Universal Fiber Systems (UFS) CEO Marc Ammen. UFS recently created a Business Development Group, headed by Don Campbell, vice president, business and technical development, to oversee its expansion efforts.

"The addition of bi-component fiber technology supports our mission as innovative problem solvers, and enables us to expand into new markets including performance apparel, interior furnishings, filtration, technical/industrial, geotextile, and medical," Campbell said. "In creating unique and innovative fiber combinations, the capabilities of these assets offer business synergies complementing our existing assets located in our Bristol facility. We also expect this technology to have application in traditional markets for existing customers of Universal Fibers and Premiere Fibers, both of which are business units within Universal Fiber Systems serving a separate and distinct customer base."

Universal Fibers Inc. currently serves the commercial, residential and automotive carpet and industrial fibers industries, with production sites in Europe, China and Thailand as well as in the United States. Premiere Fibers Inc., based in Ansonville, N.C., produces customized fibers for partially oriented and fully drawn yarns for apparel, industrial, military and other applications.

Don Berlin will serve as technical sales and business development manager of Universal Fibers' new bicomponent business, which is expected to support 20 primarily technical manufacturing jobs. "Bi-Component technology offers varied and distinct advantages to single component technology, since it accommodates fiber constructions tailored for more specific functions including anti-static, conductive, antimicrobial, super hydrophilic, super hydrophobic, stain resistance, low melt and heat resistance. These advantages yield benefits in performance, cost savings and reduced lead times," Berlin said. He added that the business will be able to offer small lots of bicomponent fibers made using nylon, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate and other traditional and non-traditional fiber polymers.

October 22, 2013

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