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Springs Global's Bowles Retires

Crandall Close Bowles, co-chairman and co-CEO of Brazil-based home textiles manufacturer Springs Global Participações S.A., has retired following the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Brazilian stock exchange, which raised more than $300 million.

As part of the IPO, the Close family sold nearly 75 percent of its 19.6-percent stake in the company, and now holds some 5 percent of the company’s stock. Bowles continues to serve on Springs Global’s Board of Directors, while Co-chairman and Co-CEO Josué Gomes da Silva has assumed sole responsibility in those positions.

Springs Global was formed in 2006 when Springs Industries Inc., Fort Mill, S.C., and its Brazil-based supplier, Coteminas S.A., merged to leverage Coteminas’ low-cost manufacturing platform in Latin America with Springs’ distribution channels, brands and customers. Going forward, the company plans to form strategic alliances or acquire operations in Europe and Asia, including production facilities in Asia.

“This is the right time for me to retire. We are beginning a new phase of our history as a global company,” Bowles said, noting that the Coteminas merger has helped “stabilize the company amid a difficult industry environment and position it for profitable future growth.”& amp; amp; amp; lt; /font>

Bowles said the transfer of US bedding and towel production capacity to Brazil is almost complete, and the company is “well positioned to source and produce product in China and Mexico.” The company closed its last South Carolina bedding manufacturing operations at the end of August, but it still operates seven US-based bedding, towel and bath rug manufacturing facilities, and it is keeping its US headquarters in Fort Mill.

Expressing “mixed feelings”  regarding the transition of the company, which was family-operated for 120 years, Bowles said: “[A]s it became increasingly difficult to manufacture competitively in the US, the decision to close plants and eliminate jobs, though painful, was inevitable. … I am proud that we maintained good jobs with competitive benefits for this area for as long as possible, and I am grateful to all our current and former employees for their commitment and positive attitudes.” September/October 2007