Coats has broken ground in Orizaba, Mexico for a new industrial thread-manufacturing plant. Construction is expected to be complete by year-end, 2003.

"This is a major investment for Coats, and a vote of confidence for the future prospects of the textile business in Mexico," said Max Perks, chief executive for the Americas, Coats, Charlotte, NC.

Coats' investment responds to the decade-long trend of apparel manufacturers migrating to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. "To deliver the quick service our customers demand," said Perks, "it is imperative that we offer in-country manufacturing and immediate delivery."

Once operational, the Orizaba plant is expected to turn around custom thread orders in as little as 48 hours.

Orizaba is approximately 270 kilometres southeast of Mexico City. It was selected for its abundant water supply (necessary to the dyeing and finishing of thread) and its proximity to several major highways. The
130,000-square-foot facility will have capacity to produce up to 250,000 pounds of thread per week.

The plant will create approximately 300 jobs. Employees will be trained by a team of Coats' worldwide experts.

A $1 million, state-of-the-art water filtration system will be installed to assure that plant wastewater is processed to the company's high worldwide environmental standards.

The Orizaba plant will be Coats' third manufacturing operation in Mexico, and will be supported by the company's eight distribution sites strategically located throughout Mexico.

London-based Coats plc is the world's largest manufacturer of industrial sewing thread. Coats supplies thread primarily to the apparel, automotive, and furniture industries. The company employs approximately 1200 people in Mexico.