The French wool processing specialist Dewavrin (ADF) is to open an Eastern   European plant to the south of the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The initial forecast is for the new unit to be handling around 6,000 tonnes of raw wool a year and ultimately to be fitted out to cope with twice that amount.

The equipment scheduled for the site will be a mix of new machinery and machinery moved over from the company's main plant at Auchel in northern France. Activities here will gradually be downsized as the Bulgarian plant comes on stream from the end of the present year through to final full capacity working by 2003.

The move is part of a campaign to keep costs competitive, particularly to the mill's regular export customers for fine woollen yarn in Italy and in China.

Dewavrin stresses, however, that far from Auchel going out of action it plans a £5 million investment programme which will bring its facilities to state-of-the-art standards and make it one of the most competitive units of its type in the European woollens market.

By Sonia Roberts