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Milliken Acquires Western’s FR Biz



Published August 28, 2008
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Textile specialist Milliken announced yesterday that it has acquired Western Nonwoven Inc.'s fire-retardant barrier assets and its geotextile business out of Chapter 11 protection.
The move is expected to boost Milliken's already strong position as a supplier of FR products to the mattress industry.

Court documents filed in the bankruptcy case state that a Milliken subsidiary agreed to pay $11.2 million for the acquisitions. That is $7.2 million more than Simmons agreed to pay for certain WNI assets when it filed for bankruptcy protection in July. The higher price resulted from a competitive auction held last week that was part of the bankruptcy process. Simmons was bidding on the assets of two WNI plants, while Milliken successfully bid on the assets of six plants, including the two on which Simmons had bid.

With the acquisition, Milliken plans to  “enhance its product leadership in the fire-retardant barrier category.” The company will continue to produce and sell its Paladin FR barrier products, and is willing and able to support WNI’s customers by manufacturing Western's Esyntial Safe FR products under Milliken's Paladin brand.

In addition to acquiring the FR barrier business, Milliken also gained access to the Sandmat product line of geotextile nonwovens, which targets the golf course development and remediation industries. Acquisition of those two businesses further strengthens Milliken's specialty nonwoven capabilities, the company said.

“This purchase is consistent with Milliken's intent to grow in the nonwovens arena and will serve to expand market and customer access,” said Bob Champion, general manager of Milliken's Spartanburg, SC-based specialty nonwoven business.

Milliken's FR mattress products include thermal bonded highloft nonwovens, needlepunch nonwovens and multi-layer composites that combine its barriers with other materials.