Polartec fabric in production

Polartec fabric in production

The owners of the company that invented modern technical fleece have agreed to sell the brand to a USA textile and floorcovering firm.

Milliken will acquire the assets of Polartec, whose fabrics are used by several leading outdoors clothing brands.

Current Polartec owner, private equity firm Versa Capital Management, has agreed to sell Polartec for an undisclosed sum. The deal is due to be completed this month.

Massachusetts-based Polartec has been at the forefront of fabric innovation and its Power Air material is designed to cut the number of microfibres released into the environment. It is also working with Kraig Laboratories to develop strong fibres based on spider’s silk.

Milliken president and chief executive Halsey Cook said: “Polartec brings a wealth of new and respected outdoor textile expertise to complement Milliken’s strengths.

“The strategic acquisition broadens our textile capabilities with a product offering to now include fleece and softshell outerwear, among others, allowing us to grow in new and exciting spaces.”

Polartec chief executive Gary Smith said: “With more than 150 years of textile innovation, Milliken is the best possible ‘natural owner’ of a brand with Polartec’s pedigree. I look forward to supporting the integration.

“I’m grateful to Versa Capital Management for their support in realising Polartec’s full potential, and I’m extremely proud of the global Polartec team for their dedication and hard work that put the company in the position it is in today.”

Greg Segall, chief executive of Versa and chairman of Polartec, said: “It has been a great collaboration with Gary and all of Polartec’s valued employees, and we are proud of all that has been accomplished during Versa’s ownership, notably the feat of reviving an American textile icon and powerful global brand into an enterprise equipped to succeed in today’s highly competitive markets.

“Milliken is the ideal long-term owner for Polartec, and we look forward to seeing the two companies achieve big things together.”

Versa acquired the assets of the former Malden Mills in 2007 through the then 101-year-old textile manufacturer’s third reorganisation. The business was transformed, renaming the company Polartec, re-orienting it toward a technology- and innovation-led growth strategy, and revamping the company’s leadership, operations, manufacturing footprint and customer relationships.

Milliken’s research, design and manufacturing activities include specialty chemicals, floor covering and performance and protective textiles. The South Carolina-based company has manufacturing facilities in the US, UK, Belgium, France, China, India, and Australia.