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Hilasal utilizes geography


San Salvador, El Salvador

Chairman, ceo: Ricardo Sagrera

Principal businesses: bath towels, beach towels

Beach and bath towel manufacturer Hilasal dates back to 1942, when it opened up for business in San Salvador. In 1980 it added its branch in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Today, Ricardo Sagrera, chairman and ceo, described the company as one of the Americas' major mills, with a projected $80 million in sales for 2001.

In both Mexico and El Salvador, it boasts two fully integrated facilities.

Hilasal imports U.S. cotton to its facilities, and from there it does all the spinning, weaving, dyeing, printing and cutting and sewing. Also, it does all of its own screens and art and fashion designs at its New York offices.

Sagrera said that Hilasal sells its products to some of the United States' largest distributors, including Barth & Dreyfuss, Franco Manufacturing and Jay Franco and Sons.

Hilasal also works closely with a fashion towel importer in Miami, also named Hilasal, but considered another distribution customer in the United States, Sagrera explained.

"As an importer to the United States, one of the things we view as an advantage to our customers is our geographic location, which is very convenient," Sagrera said.

For Hilasal, the United States is its biggest market, followed by Mexico, where all of Hilasal's business is in solid bath towels. Hilasal also exports to Central and South America and heavily into many European countries. Its strongest presence is in Spain, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

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