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Springs to shutter two Dundee towel plants, with loss of 580 jobs

FORT MILL, S.C.  Bowing to global import pressures, Springs Industries Inc. said it will shutter two towel plants it acquired in 1995 when it bought out Dundee Mfg., with a loss of about 580 jobs.

The company said it will close a towel weaving plant in Griffin, Ga., and a towel finishing plant in Hartwell,Ga., during April.As part of the streamlining process, Springs will consolidate all terry weaving into an existing plant in Hartwell, and all finishing into Griffin."With quotas no longer restricting imports form other countries, competition from low-cost global suppliers is increasing even more rapidly, and customers are aggressively shopping world markets," said Chris Baker, Springs executive vice president and president of the bath products business. To remain cost-competitive, the company said, Springs must now produce more of its towels offshore, reducingU.S.capacity.The two plants being closed are Plant No. 5 inGriffin, which affects about 300 workers, and Hartwell Finishing, with about 280 workers. Both plants had earlier been the beneficiary of substantial capital spending, as Springs expanded Plant No. 5 and added new weaving and yarn equipment in 1999. At Hartwell, Springs built a new weaving facility adjacent to the finishing operation in 1998, and later installed new equipment at the finishing plant.

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