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A New Chapter for Springs U.S.

Josue Gomes Da Silva SpringsJosue Gomes Da Silva Springs
NEW YORK - The long and storied history of Springs - once the largest home textiles mill in the United States - is about to enter a new phase as parent company Springs Global seeks a strategic investor to concentrate on the development of the U.S. business and brands.
     Springs Global was created in 2005, when then U.S.-based Springs Industries and Brazil's leading home textiles mill Coteminas merged most - but not all - of their operations into the new company.
     Today, Springs U.S. is a private company that is 100% owned by Springs Global. Springs Global is a public Brazilian company in which Coteminas owns 69% and the public - including the former Springs Industries investors - owns 31%, according to Springs Global ceo Josue Gomes da Silva.
     The company is not looking to sell off the U.S. business outright, he told HTT in an exclusive interview last week.
"We are looking not for an investor but a strategic investor to partner with our U.S. business - who can dedicate the time, attention and focus to the great brands we have in the U.S.," he said.
     In addition to its legacy Wamsutta and Springmaid brands, the U.S. operation also produces several brands through licensing agreements, including Pantone, Diane Von Furstenberg Home, Paula Dean Home and Nate Berkus.
     The parent company needs to place its focus on the booming Brazilian market, where in addition to its manufacturing operation Springs Global owns more than 200 specialty retail stores.
     Gomes da Silva said the company has received several inquiries since it publicly announced the new strategy earlier this month. The goal is to find a partner experienced in brands and the U.S. market that can step in "without any disruption to our brands, our customers or our services. Our customers and our services are the most important," he said.
     Joe Granger, who had been president of the branded portion of Springs' U.S. business and who brought in many of the licensed brands now in its portfolio, is no longer with the company. Longtime Springs executive Tom O'Conner remains with the company and continues to hold the title of president.
     Springs Global generated approximately $990 million in sales during 2011, with the Brazilian business accounting for 66.9% of the total, according the company's recent annual report. The company does not break out the U.S. business.
     For the year, Springs Global reported a 5.2% decline in fashion bedding sales, a 17.3% decline in bath sales, and a 21.8% decline in utility bedding sales.
     When Springs Global was created in 2005, its annual sales were estimated in the range of $2.4 billion.

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