Sri Lankan apparel and fabric manufacturing conglomerate MAS Holdings is to open its first production and development centre in the US in a move designed to improve speed to market and flexibility for its customers.

The facility, which will be in North Carolina, includes a pending acquisition of Asheboro-based textile manufacturer Acme-McCrary, and additional facilities in Chatham County and the Republic of Honduras. The company produces legwear and activewear for large US retailers.

"We are delighted to be associated with Acme-McCrary, whose values and philosophy are very much in alignment with MAS," says Mahesh Amalean, chairman of MAS Holdings. "Our presence in the western hemisphere enables us to strengthen our value propositions of speed and flexibility offered through on-shore and near-shore operations to our customers.

"It also enables us to engage and strengthen our continued association with academia and research institutions in the US. We are appreciative of the support and assistance extended to us by the State, County, City and its officials and look forward to integrating and contributing to the community in North Carolina."

MAS plans to invest nearly US$20m in the Asheboro facility, providing additional payroll impact exceeding $4m annually. It is expected to create around 133 new jobs. And a performance-based grant of $575,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate the new centre.

WH Redding Jr, chairman of Acme-McCrary said of the move: "We are pleased to be a part of MAS Holdings' location of a manufacturing facility in our hemisphere. MAS Holdings brings to North Carolina an exemplary corporate culture and a growing business. Their concern for environmental impact is world class and keeping and growing textile jobs in North Carolina is exciting."

MAS Holdings employs around 85,000 people globally, operating 48 state-of-the-art facilities in 15 countries including design offices, apparel and component manufacturing plants and private industrial parks.

The company has recently been working to integrate technology into clothing, partnering with start-up companies in the Silicon Valley region of California and in New York in the fields of wearable technology and health & wellness.

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"North Carolina enjoys a worldwide reputation as a centre for textile research and workers," said Governor for North Carolina, Cooper. "Our excellent business climate and location offer international firms an ideal place to reach and serve customers in the United States."