American & Efird Inc, a manufacturer and distributor of thread and specialty yarns, has bought an 80 per cent ownership interest in Jimei Spinning Company Ltd, which is located in Hengshui City, Hebei Province, China.

The thread yarn operations of Jimei will consist of a manufacturing facility located on the same complex as A&E's current thread yarn spinning joint venture in Hengshui City, Hengmei Spinning Company Ltd.

Simultaneously with this acquisition, A&E acquired an additional 20 per cent interest in Hengmei from its joint venture partner Hengshui North Thread Industry Company, bringing its total ownership interest to 80 per cent.

North Thread has also entered into an agreement to acquire the remaining 20 per cent ownership interest of Jimei from Yuanda.

The ownership of the combined companies will be consolidated among A&E and North Thread, creating a unified thread yarn spinning operation. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

A&E president Fred Jackson said: "The acquisition of Jimei will expand A&E's thread yarn capacity to support our growing needs in Asia.

"We plan to continue to support the current Jimei customers and utilise part of the production capacity within our global supply chain."

Jimei, a thread yarn spinning company created from the operations of Hengshui Yuanda Group Co Ltd, recorded sales of about $14 million in 2004.

A&E, a subsidiary of holding company Ruddick Corporation, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of thread and specialty engineered yarns for worldwide industrial and consumer markets, with sales of $296m in 2004.