Ruddick Corporation's sewing thread subsidiary American & Efird Inc has signed a deal to acquire certain assets of Robison-Anton Textile Co's thread and yarn business and parts of its affiliated companies.

The agreement is subject to various customary conditions to closing and is expected to be completed on 29 August.

A&E plans to operate Robison-Anton as a separate division called Robison-Anton Textile Company, which will be focused on expanding the embroidery thread business both in the US and throughout the world.

The acquisition will further diversify A&E's product line offerings into more non-apparel thread markets.

Fred Jackson, president of A&E, said: "We are very excited about the opportunity this acquisition brings to A&E.  Robison-Anton is a highly recognised global brand but has had limited distribution internationally.

"Combining A&E's global sales and distribution capabilities with Robison- Anton's branded products is a perfect fit for both companies." 

Bruce  Anton, the current president of Robison-Anton, will continue to be the president of A&E's newly created Robison-Anton Textile Company embroidery thread division. 

Robison-Anton, which had sales of approximately $24 million in financial 2005, has been manufacturing quality embroidery thread and yarn since 1959. 

A&E is a manufacturer and distributor of sewing thread for worldwide industrial and consumer markets, with sales of $296m in financial 2004.