WestPoint AL facility hit by tornado

Marvin Lazaro, Staff Staff, January 1, 2001

NEW YORK -Last month a tornado ripped through WestPoint Stevens' Abbeville, AL, distribution unit and significantly damaged the facility but none of the employees in the building were injured.

"The tornado sliced through the middle of the distribution center," said Lorraine Miller, senior vp of WestPoint Stevens' investor relations. "We did have some damage to inventory, primarily as a result of the sprinkler system since it was ripped out when the tornado hit."

A fabricating plant is adjacent to the distribution center but it was undamaged. Two other local plants, neither of which is owned by the textiles manufacturer, were also damaged. Roughly 20 people were at the plant when the tornado struck, Miller said, with the rest of the employees possibly on their lunch break.

"Most important, no one was hurt. Secondly, we implemented a plan to resume operations in 60 percent of the distribution facility and we will also utilize our Clemson distribution facility as appropriate," said David Meek, executive vp/cfo, in a statement released by the company. "We expect the impact on our customers will be minimal."

Meek added that WestPoint Stevens was fully insured for the costs of rebuilding as well as for business interruption and therefore did not expect any "significant long-term financial impact" on the company.

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