Textile maker Delta Woodside Industries Inc plans to close its spinning and weaving plant in Piedmont, South Carolina with the loss of around 361 jobs.

The Estes Plant, which handles cotton and cotton blend yarns, will close in the next 30 days.

Its closure is just one of several initiatives outlined by the Greenville, SC-based company yesterday to streamline its operations and boost annual pre-tax earnings by $11-16.0 million.

Other cost-slashing measures being introduced partly in response to increased competition once quotas are lifted at the beginning of next year include reductions in manufacturing costs, benefits, job losses, and pay cuts.

W F Garrett, president and CEO said: "Our industry and more specifically, our company continues to suffer from a high level of over capacity in the textile industry, inconsistent demand at retail and pressure from foreign imports that could intensify in January of 2005 with the elimination of import quotas among WTO member states.

"These difficult conditions coupled with a lack of political support for our industry require that we take this aggressive approach."

The company also said it plans to continue the modernisation of its Delta 3 finishing facility with a new dye range for wide width fabric finishing, a new print range and a new preparation range which should be completed in September 2005.

The closure of the Estes Plant will result in a pre-tax charge in the second quarter of fiscal year 2005 of $9-12 million.

Once it has completed its realignment plan, Delta Woodside Industries will employ approximately 1,100 people and will operate four plants.