DuraFiber plant might close in September

Published 10:44 am Friday, July 14, 2017

By Jessica Coates


SALISBURY — DuraFiber Technologies said Friday it will close its Salisbury plant — as well as its Shelby and Winnsboro, South Carolina, plants — unless a buyer is found by Sept. 10.

The company submitted an announcement through WARN — Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice — to the N.C. Department of Commerce on Friday morning. Companies are required to file such notice if they are planning “a closure or mass layoffs,” according to the Department of Commerce website.

The notice reads: “We believe that these plans, when finalized, would be permanent and they would involve approximately 373 employees at the facility.”

The notice also says that should the plant be shut down, the affected employees will be terminated over the course of a 14-day period beginning Sept. 10.

Durafiber makes polyester fibers and fabrics for industrial and tire reinforcement uses, including reinforcement for conveyor belts, hoses, single-ply roofing, tents, automotive airbags, seat belts, safety harnesses and ropes.

The Salisbury facility, located at 7401 Statesville Blvd., opened in May 1966 as Fiber Industries Inc. Through the years, its name changed to Hoechst-Celanese, then KoSa. It is also known as Performance Fibers.

At one time, it employed thousands of workers.

“While today’s announcement is a difficult one to make, increased labor, energy, transportation and raw material costs — in addition to continued market pressures — have strained DuraFiber’s finances to a point that is no longer sustainable. Our team will work diligently to ensure a smooth transition for our employees, customers and suppliers during the next 60 days, even as we continue to pursue strategic alternatives to keep these plants open,” DuraFiber CEO Frank Papa said in a news release.

The news release said DuraFiber’s operations in France, Germany and Mexico will be unaffected.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.