DuPont Textiles & Interiors (DTI) has set up a new manufacturing venture with with Shinkong Synthetic Fibers Corporation (SSFC) in Taiwan to make its T-400 elasterell-p elastic fibres. Earlier this month T-400, which is sold under the DuPont Lycra brand name, was granted US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approval for a new generic fibre subclass.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the 50/50 joint venture adds manufacturing capability in Asia, the fastest growing region for fibres.

T-400 has found commercial success in denim, shirting and trousers and is now expanding into other apparel applications including socks and flat knits.

"This agreement reinforces our ongoing commitment to make new, innovative products available in every region to meet customer demand and invest for business growth. The joint venture combines our science and marketing capability with technical operations where demand is the greatest," said Steve McCracken, president, DuPont Textiles & Interiors.

"We are continuing a longstanding relationship with DTI that sets the stage for more growth in the region and allows us to continue offering high value-added and differentiated products to this market," added Daniel Y Ko, president of SSFC.

Under the partnership agreement, DTI will provide technology and product expertise as well as market the fibres, with Lycra brand support. Shinkong will manage the joint venture company and provide its manufacturing expertise to the joint venture. Shinkong's technical expertise was instrumental in converting spinning machine equipment for the T-400 product expansion.

Start-up is scheduled for the third quarter of 2003. Plans also include the installation of additional spinning machines as market demand increases. The capacity from DTI's existing manufacturing of T-400 at Chattanooga, Tenn., will be directed toward North America and European markets when Asia capacity becomes available.

"T-400, is nicely positioned between spandex and textured yarns and brings to us a new price/volume opportunity," McCracken said.