Swift Spinning transitions to employee-owned textile company

Columbus manufacturer sells stock, believes move will foster growth and innovation

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 15, 2013 

Swift Spinning Inc., a textile mill company dating to 1906, said Friday it has sold all of its private stock to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

The move by the Columbus firm will allow eligible workers to earn shares of its stock, giving them more incentive to grow the company in the coming years.

“This would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our employees,” said Trey Hodges, Swift Spinning president and chief executive officer. “I am glad to see that this gives us the ability to keep the business in Columbus and the opportunity to reward those employees who have contributed to our success. I believe this is a win-win situation for all the employees, the local community and, of course, our customers.”

Swift Spinning employs about 300 in Columbus. It operates plants on Corporate Ridge Parkway in east Columbus and on Third Avenue near downtown. The company produces cotton ring-spun yarns for the hosiery, knitted apparel and specialty weaving sectors.

The move to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is regulated under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The company, in a release, said it believes the new strategy will ultimately give it a “meaningful competitive advantage for attracting and retaining talent,” while ensuring employees understand precisely how they can help the manufacturer prosper long term.

“The result, on average, is stronger companies, more innovation and more jobs,” the company said of the ESOP’s expected impact.

There are nearly 11,000 such ownership plans and stock bonus plans covering more than 10 million workers in the U.S. today, according to the National Center of Employee Ownership. About 97 percent of all such plans are with privately owned companies.

“A 2000 Rutgers study found that ESOP companies grow 2.3 percent to 2.4 percent faster after setting up their ESOP than would have been expected without it,” the center said. “Companies that combine employee ownership with employee workplace participation programs show even more substantial gains in performance.”

Swift Spinning’s yarn can be found in a number of clothing labels, according to its website, including Ralph Lauren Polo, Liz Claiborne, J.C. Penney, Sears, Mervyns, Tommy Hilfiger, Gold Toe, Land’s End, L.L Bean and Eddie Bauer.

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