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WestPoint Stevens To Open Shanghai Office, Receives Filing Extension

West Point, Ga.-based home fashion textiles manufacturer WestPoint Stevens Inc. has announced plans to open its first overseas office in Shanghai on July 1, 2004.

"We have spent the last several years building our direct offshore sourcing operations," said M.L. Chip Fontenot, president and CEO. "We have now reached a point of critical mass, currently running at over $400 million of our revenues, such that a direct presence overseas is warranted. We have chosen China initially because of its strategic importance in the globalization of the home fashions industry."

The company has promoted William T. Walker to managing director and president, Asian Operations. Walker, formerly senior vice president, sourcing, will manage the Shanghai office and open additional offices overseas. He also will continue to develop, coordinate and oversee vendor/country relationships in Asia.

The Shanghai office initially will employ a staff of three, but that number will eventually grow to 12. Shanghai native Mingzi Ye will serve as sourcing coordinator in that office.

In other news, the US Bankruptcy Court has extended through July 29, 2004, WestPoint Stevens' exclusive right to file a reorganization plan in accordance with its June 1, 2003, filing for protection under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code.

"While we are sensitive to the desire to exit bankruptcy as quickly as possible, it is more important to conclude this process with a sound strategic vision that will ensure WestPoint Stevens' long-term competitive position in a rapidly changing global market," Fontenot said. "WestPoint Stevens remains committed to its high level of customer service and product innovation, and continues to enjoy ample financial flexibility. "

June 2004