The Waynesboro Invista plant will be seeing new owners as of next year.
According to a release, Invista has entered into a definitive agreement with Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding to sell Invista’s Apparel & Advanced Textiles (A&AT) business, one of Invista’s four major business units.
Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding is one of the largest textile manufacturers in China and ranks number one out of the top 500 textile and apparel companies in China, a release said. The company operates 13 domestic industrial parks and serves a global customer base over six continents.
The agreement is expected by mid-2018 and the purchase price is undisclosed, the release said.
The Apparel & Advanced Textiles business is a global producer and marketer of fibers and fabrics — including Lycra and Coolmax fiber. Fibers produced by Invista can be used in diapers, swimwear, activewear, intimate apparel and many other types of clothing.
The Waynesboro plant specializes in Lycra and is also a research and development facility that supports fiber innovations and new technologies. The Waynesboro plant employees 400 people.
Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding intends to maintain the unique identity of the business. Its current vision, strategy and organizational structure would also remain in place, while benefitting from the global textile and retailing expertise of its new shareholder, a release said.
It is unclear on how jobs will be affected by the sale, but from what both Invista and the investment firm say, they shouldn’t be affected. All associated technical, operations, commercial and administrative staff, which is approximately 3,000 employees globally, are included in the sale, the release said.
“We do not anticipate any change in operations due to the transaction,” said Jodie Stutzman, director of public affairs for Invista. “There would simply be a different owner upon close.”
The sale also includes related manufacturing assets, research and development centers (which Waynesboro’s plant is) and sales offices around the globe.
“Invista’s world-class assets and consumer-recognized brands are a perfect fit for our growing portfolio of textile-related products,” said Yafu Qiu, chairman of the board of Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding in a release. “Over the decades, the Lycra brand has transformed the apparel industry, and continues to do so today.
“We are committed to taking this business to the next level through continued investment in innovation and the business’ portfolio of consumer-recognized brands,” Qiu continued. “We also see opportunity to leverage Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding’s existing capabilities — including our spandex manufacturing assets — to further enhance A&AT’s position in the global marketplace.”
The sale includes Invista’s portfolio of apparel-focused fibers and brands including Lycra fiber, Lycra HyFit fiber, Coolmax fiber, Thermolite fiber and insulation, Elaspan fiber, Supplex fiber and Tactel fiber products, the release said.
The sale also includes Terathane polytetramethylene ether glycol, 1,4 butanediol and tetrahydrofuran production, the release said.
“The Apparel business has always been a strategic and valued part of our portfolio,” said Jeff Gentry, Invista chairman and CEO, in a release. “We engaged the market because we want this business to be owned by the company that can create the greatest value for customers, employees and stockholders. In this case, we believe that Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding has the knowledge and capability that will enable this business to thrive the most and succeed over the long term.”
Back in March, Invista was looking at alternatives for its apparel and textile business. The company was looking at “strategic alternatives,” which meant selling its Apparel & Advanced Textiles business or retaining and further investing in the business within Invista.
Now, it looks like the company has gone the selling route.
Invista will retain ownership of its nylon, polyester, polyols and licensing businesses and related brands including brands like Stainmaster and Antron carpet fibers and Cordura fabric, the release said.
Invista will also retain its intellectual property rights for 1,4 butanediol, tetrahydrofuran and polytetramethylene ether glycol technologies and will continue to license these technologies on a global basis, the release said.
“We look forward to intensifying our focus on the nylon value chain,” Gentry said in a release. “For nearly 80 years, we’ve delivered innovations to the nylon industry, including the most advanced adiponitrile technology in the marketplace. We have talented people with decades of know-how and you can count on Invista to continue building on this heritage of leadership and innovation.”