Ex-Im Bank aids Sanford yarn maker

david.ranii@newsobserver.comNovember 21, 2011 

A Sanford-based yarn maker will be able to expand its business and save U.S. jobs thanks to an agreement with the Export-Import Bank of the United States that will enable it to obtain $40 million in financing.

The agreement announced today by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat, will translate into 50 jobs at Frontier Spinning Mills -- a combination of new hires plus employees that the company can avoid letting go, said CEO John L. Bakane. Frontier has about 1,400 workers, more than 90 percent of whom are at North Carolina plants in Sanford and Mayodan; it also has a plant in Alabama.

Bakane said the agreement with the Export-Import Bank calls for Frontier to receive $40 million in credit insurance, for which Pioneer will pay a premium. That will enable Pioneer to finance up to $40 million in receivables from overseas customers through a bank.

"We are willing to pay an insurance premium because we think it is worth it to get the financing," Bakane said.

"In today's economy, where 95 percent of the world's customers live outside the United States, exporting is an important way North Carolina companies can expand their businesses, create jobs and preserve a more secure economic future," Hagan said in a prepared statement.

Bakane said that the Export-Import Bank fills a real need helping U.S. companies compete in the global marketplace. And, he added, "it's a program that's designed so that it doesn't cost the taxpayers anything."

Founded in 1996, Frontier is one of the country's largest producers of 100 percent cotton and cotton-blend yarns.

The company doesn't disclose revenue or production numbers, but Bakane did say: "We buy close to 1 million bales of cotton a year. A lot of that comes from North Carolina growers."

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