The Rhodia group, one of France's key producers of polyamide yarns and fibres, has raised the cost of all its performance yarns by five per cent. The increase on fibres is even steeper: they go up ten per cent.

Rhodia blames the rising cost of raw materials. The company's performance fibres division has three factories in France but also produces on four other sites in Europe, including a plant in Poland. Overall it employs some 830 workers.

The division manufactures yarns and fibres not only for use in apparel textiles but for flocking, felt and for nonwoven fabrics, and has developed a branded fibre, Kermel, specifically for use in the production of protective clothing.

In a statement giving its customers news of the increases, Rhodia pledged further broadening of its product base as well as "additional productivity programmes". These will "continue to straighten the financial results of the division" which, at the close of this year, is expected to have achieved a turnover of 245 million Euros.

By Sonia Roberts.