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WPS chief wants to keep business a private affair

NEW YORK — WestPoint Stevens is still on track to emerge from bankruptcy some time during the second quarter, but it may not be as a public company if CEO “Chip” Fontenot gets his way.

For the first time publicly, Fontenot suggested last week that WestPoint, like Springs Industries before it, might withdraw from the public gaze and the tiresome, costly ritual of opening its books to shareholders every three months.

“It depends on who the owners are when we emerge, and whether they need access to the public markets. But I can tell you we’d rather be a private company.”

WestPoint continues to work on its plan of reorganization, but its will “reflect the reality of the world we’re living in – sourcing versus U.S. manufacturing,” Fontenot said.

While imports show no signs of ever abating, Fontenot does think “at some pint, we strike a balance between domestic production and sourcing…But it will probably nevere be as much U.S. sourcing as at one time we thought.”

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