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Milliken To Sell Automotive Fabrics Business To Management Group

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Spartanburg-based Milliken & Company has signed a letter of intent to sell its Automotive Body Cloth division to a management group led by Dirk Pieper and Brian McSharry, with support from Greenville-based investment firm Azalea Capital LLC. The new company, to be called Autotex, will be based in South Carolina. An Azalea principal, Jim Micali, who formerly was president and
chairman of Greenville-based Michelin North America Inc., will serve as chairman. The sale is expected to be complete July 10, 2009.

Milliken stated the sale is in line with its strategy to focus on other existing and emerging growth markets. Approximately 1,200 associates in the division's worldwide operation are impacted by the sale. Of those, more than 1,000 will transfer to Autotex.

Included in the sale are Gayley Plant, Marietta, S.C.; Abbeville Plant, Abbeville, S.C.; Cotton Blossom Plant, Spartanburg; Avalon Plant, Toccoa, Ga.; Autotex Plant, Brazil; and support operations in the United Kingdom, Japan and China. Sharon Plant near Abbeville will close, impacting 140 associates.

In other news, Milliken will terminate 80 management associates worldwide in other company businesses as a result of recent consolidations unrelated to the Automotive Body Cloth division sale.

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