While no figures have been given – not even for the turnover of the two companies – Versa Capital Management is probably going to make a nice capital gain from its sale of Polartec to Milliken & Company, a large and diversified U.S.-based textile group. The strategic investment contract is expected to close before the end of this month.
Versa took over the assets of the former bankrupt Malden Mills in 2007, renamed it Polartec and placed the company under the management of Gary Smith, a former executive of Timberland. Malden, which was founded 101 years ago, had already gone through bankruptcy proceedings twice after its factory was destroyed by fire in 1995, when it was still employing 3,000 people. The plant was closed down in 2015.
Under Smith's leadership, the inventor of polar fleece has reorganized the production process and repositioned the Polartec brand, investing in new technologies and the development of many innovative products, turning the company around. Smith said that he was looking forward to supporting Polartec's integration into its new “natural owner.”
Milliken has just announced the appointment of one of its own executives, Steve Layton, as president of Polartec, who will take the place of Smith and lead the integration process.
Leyton joined Milliken in 2012, serving most recently as vice president of sales and marketing for Westex, the flame-retardant fabric business of the group.
Milliken has been in business for more than 150 years. Aside from the development and production of performance and protective fabrics, which is led by Jeff Price, it is involved in specialty chemicals and floor coverings. The group said that it was particularly interested in Polartec's fleece and outdoor fabrics, but also in its flame-retardant, workwear and military-grade fabrics.