China-based clothing giant Shandong Ruyi Investment Holding says it will run the U.S. apparel and advanced textiles business it acquired from Koch Bros.' Invista group as an independent firm, Lycra Co., to be based in Wilmington, Del.
The owner is also preparing Lycra for an initial public offering (IPO), Bloomberg reports, citing an interview with Kelvin Ho, chief strategy officer at Ruyi. Ho said a public listing would provide top bosses with extra incentives to boost Lycra’s performance.
Lycra will be based near the DuPont Co. labs where the synthetic fiber’s uses were developed by DuPont before it sold much of its former fabrics business to Invista in 2001. Shandong Ruyi agreed to buy the business for $2 billion in 2017, and said Thursday it has completed the deal, more than a year after the announcement.
Lycra is named for one of its best-known brands, a spandex fabric developed in the 1950s for clothing and hygiene-products makers, and used in popular stretch products such as yoga pants. Other Lycra brands include Coolmax, Thermolite, Elaspan, Supplex, Tactel and Terathane.
The company employs 3,000 at eight factories, four R&D labs and 17 offices spread among 13 countries. That includes 90 at Lycra’s Wilmington headquarters and its Newark, Del. R&D lab. The business will be run by chief executive Dave Trerotola, who earlier headed Invista’s apparel division. In a statement, Trerotola said Lycra was “fortunate to be purchased by Ruyi,” whose experience he said would help Lycra develop new fibers for customers.
Ruyi Group has bought a series of foreign brands since 2016, including Aquascutum, Maje, Claudie Pierlot and Sandro. The company, based in Jining, Shandong province, say it is the largest textile and apparel manufacturer in China.
Invista still owns DuPont’s former nylon business, operates factories near its Texas headquarters and in Kansas and other states and foreign countries, and maintains a lab at the mostly shuttered, 750-acre former DuPont nylon plant in Seaford, Del.
As a publicly-traded company, Lycra would join Wilmington-based Chemours (chemicals), Malvern-based Endo (pharmaceuticals), Philadelphia-based Axalta (paint), and other former DuPont Co. businesses as independent public companies now based in the Philadelphia-Wilmington area.