* Organic fiber competes with high-priced cotton
* NAT's fiber made from flax and hemp
* NAT forges deal with uniform maker Cintas
NEW YORK, June 9 Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc
NAT.V will sell its organic fiber to uniform maker Cintas which is trying
to contain cotton costs.
Made from flax and hemp, NAT's organic fiber was developed to compete
with organic cotton, according to a company official.
NAT, based in Portland, Oregon, has similar agreements with Levi
Strauss & Co LEVST.UL and HanesBrands Inc (HBI.N) as apparel firms in the
United States try to reduce escalating production costs after cotton surged
to a record high over $2 per lb earlier this year.
"Cintas is the leading uniform brand in the U.S. and we are looking
forward to supporting their manufacturing processes," said Ken Barker,
chief executive of NAT.
On Wednesday, Gap Inc (GPS.N) Chief Executive Glenn Murphy said his
company would cut back on the number of cotton vendors it deals with, and
develop more direct relationships with mills as it tries to rein in soaring
yarn and fabric costs. [ID:nN08250020]
This year's rally in cotton prices has made NAT's fiber a competitive
alternative to normally produced cotton. It is cheaper on average by about
10 to 30 cents.
"They now find themselves competing on price with ordinary cotton," the
official said, referring to the organic fiber created by his company.
NAT has forged a 10-year purchasing agreement with Hanes brands.
(Reporting by Rene Pastor; Editing by John Picinich)