REFILE-Gildan finalizing plans for textile plant in Americas expansion

Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:33pm EST
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By Chris Prentice

NEW YORK Nov 21 (Reuters) - Canada's Gildan Activewear Inc is finalizing plans to build a new textile plant in Central America, as the maker of Gold Toe socks and other basic apparel aims to expand its operations in the Americas.

The Montreal-based company said on Thursday it plans to spend as much as $350 million in fiscal year to end-September 2014 on a series of projects in the Americas. The company is also looking to cut operational costs and expand its shelf presence in North America and Europe.

The bulk of the company's operations are in the United States and Honduras. The new investments in its home region come as consumers and activists have been pressuring retailers and the global textile trade about unsafe working conditions in global manufacturing hubs including Bangladesh.

Gildan is in the final stages of choosing between two sites for its textile plant in the Central America, where apparel makers can take advantage of lower labor costs while still snagging fast, duty-free access to the key U.S. retail market.

"One of the advantage of staying in this hemisphere is speed to market," Gildan's president and chief executive officer Glenn Chamandy said as he detailed the plans on a call to discuss quarterly earnings.

Management declined to give further details but ruled out Honduras as the company aims to diversify its geography.

Other projects include ramping up and modernizing already-existing plants in Honduras and building a distribution center in Honduras, a new sewing facility in the Dominican Republic and two spinning mills in the United States.   Continued...