Apparel maker Tropical Sportswear Int'l Corporation today filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it will sell its assets to Perry Ellis International Inc for $85 million in cash.

The agreement, pursuant to section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code, includes inventory and intellectual property, and will add the Savane and Farah brands to Perry Ellis' portfolio.

George Feldenkreis, chairman and CEO of Perry Ellis International, said: "With this acquisition, we will become a key player in the men's casual and dress bottoms market, increasing our overall market share and importance in the men's apparel industry.

"The combination of our existing bottoms business with that of TSI is expected to result in a combined bottoms business in excess of $350 million.

"We anticipate that during the first year of operation, the acquisition will provide net sales in excess of $200 million."

"TSI has been an important player in the men's apparel industry for several decades," said Mike Kagan, chief executive officer of TSI.

"As the industry navigates a period of dramatic change, it has become necessary for domestic companies to take major steps to ensure their ability to remain competitive in an evolving global marketplace.

"We believe that a business combination with Perry Ellis, which has expressed a commitment to building and growing its men's pants business, is in the best interests of our customers and stakeholders."

The voluntary Chapter 11 petition was filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. The Bankruptcy Court supervised sale approval process is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2005.

Tampa-based TSI also announced it has secured a new $50 million debtor-in-possession credit facility with The CIT Group and Fleet Capital to finance its working capital needs and allow business operations to continue as normal during the sale process.

Perry Ellis International Inc makes a range of men's and women's apparel and accessories under brands such as Perry Ellis, Jantzen and Cubavera and also licenses Nike and Tommy Hilfiger for swimwear and Ocean Pacific for men's sportswear.