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WestPoint Stevens To Close Plants, Files Reorganization Plan

Citing the removal of quotas on textiles from low-wage countries and the need to balance domestic manufacturing with sourcing from abroad, WestPoint Stevens Inc., West Point, Ga., announced it will realign and consolidate its Bed Products manufacturing capacity, and consolidate its Bath Products capacity. The move involves the closure of several facilities and will eliminate nearly 2,500 jobs - about 20 percent of the company's workforce.

Bed Products facilities to be closed include: Alamance Plant and Distribution Center, Burlington, N.C.; Clemson Fabricating and Greige plants and Distribution Center, Clemson, S.C.; and Middletown Plant, Middletown, Ind. The company will reduce its Clemson Finishing Plant workforce by more than 50 percent. In addition, it will consolidate Bath Products capacity by closing the Drakes Branch Plant, Drakes Branch, Va. Plant closings are anticipated to be completed by late March or early April.

WestPoint Stevens plans to move some production from the closed facilities to other company facilities, but it also will source a significant amount from other countries. Where possible, it will attempt to move associates from closed facilities to positions in nearby plants. A range of assistance will be available to displaced associates.

"We value our associates very much and have a longstanding tradition of investing in our people in terms of training and providing state-of-the-art equipment," said Lorraine D. Miller, senior vice president, finance and external communications. She added that the affected facilities are modern and updated, but the removal of quotas and other issues have prevented them from being profitable. Miller also said the company expects there will be more consolidation within its Bedding operations.

The company also has filed its plan of reorganization with the US Bankruptcy Court and expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of this quarter. The plan calls for a debt-for-equity swap that would allow the company to emerge debt-free, Miller said. Most of the new ownership would be in the hands of first- and second-lien holders, including billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

February 2005