Burlington Industries/International Textile Group


  • Nov 6, 1923: Burlington Mills Corp. in Burlington is chartered under the leadership of J. Spencer Love.
  • 1924: first plant is completed, employing 200. To distinguish Burlington Mills from competitors, Love switches to a new experimental synthetic fiber, rayon.
  • 1926: A second plant is built.
  • 1929: New York sales office opens.
  • 1933: Employs 4,000 and produces 60 million yard of fabric.
  • 1934: Becomes the largest producer of rayon fabrics in the United States.
  • 1935: Headquarters is moved to Greensboro to temporary offices in the Jefferson Standard Building.
  • 1936: Operating 22 plants with sales of $25 million.
  • 1937: Is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Opens new headquarters on North Eugene Street in downtown Greensboro.
  • 1938: Enters the hosiery field.
  • 1942-45: Produces items for the armed forces. Becomes a leader in developing parachute cloth made with the new synthetic fiber, nylon.
  • Apr. 1952: In order to supplement its line of men's and children's hosiery, Burlington Mills acquires the property and assets of Sarfert Hosiery Company, Inc. of Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 1952: Becomes the first textile company to advertise on network television.
  • 1955: Changes name to Burlington Industries.
  • 1960s: Burlington Industries is now the parent company for 17 constituent companies. Products range from ribbon and suiting fabrics to hosiery and carpets. More than 100 plants are in operation.
  • 1962: Becomes the first textile company to reach $1 billion in sales.
  • 1962: Founder, J. Spencer Love dies.
  • 1970s: Initiates 10-year, $2 billion capital expenditure program.
  • 1987: Attempted hostile takeover. Company goes private through a leveraged buyout. 525 people lose jobs in corporate layoffs.
  • 1992: Burlington Industries returns to the New York Stock Exchange.
  • 1995: The knitted fabrics division is eliminated. 1,100 jobs are slashed in Denton, Wake Forest and Greensboro.
  • 1997: Thirty-five corporate staff employees in Greensboro are cut.
  • 1998: Proceeds from the sale of three North Carolina plants are used to accelerate the expansion in Mexico.
  • 1998: Nano-Tex, the research arm for Burlington Industries, is founded.
  • 1999: Begins producing denim at its newest plant in Mexico. Begins a restructuring program, laying off nearly 3,000 workers and reshuffling business segments.
  • 2000: Loses $5.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2000.
  • Nov 15, 2001: Announces Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • Nov 27, 2001: Burlington Industries stock sells for $.05 a share.
  • Dec 2001: Delaware Court approves $190 million credit agreement between Burlington Industries and J. P. Morgan Chase.
  • Jan 2002: Announces plan to double salaries of some top managers.
  • Jan 2002: Nano-Tex introduces a new fabric.
  • Feb 2002: announces $75.2 million loss for quarter ending Dec. 2001.
  • March 2002: Announces sale of bedspread and drapery business to rival Springs Industries, and the sale of Graham Yarn Plant to Carolina Hosiery Mills.
  • Aug 2002: Reports loss of 11.2 million for quarter ending in June. Announces closing of Stokesdale distribution center. 200 employees lose their jobs. 140 will lose jobs at sister plant in Reidsville.
  • Sep 2002: Asks judge to extend deadline to file reorganization plans from Sep. 16 to Jan. 31, 2003.
  • Oct 2002: Wins $5.53 million U.S. Air Force contract.
  • Oct 2002: Douglas J. McGregor, president and chief operating officer, announces retirement.
  • Nov 2002: Nano Tex’s stain repellent fabric named one of the top innovations of 2000 by Time Magazine.
  • Dec 2002: Announces closing of transportation unit and lay off of 130 Burlington employees.
  • Feb 2003: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett and his company Berkshire Hathaway tenders a $575 million offer. Investor Wilbur L. Ross opposed the offer and pushes his own plan to purchase.
  • Mar 2003: Buffett retracts offer for the company.
  • July 10, 2003: Deadline for interested parties to submit bids.
  • July 25, 2003: Burlington says W.L. Ross & Co. is the leading bidder with a $608 million offer for Burlington.
  • Nov 10, 2003: Starmount Co. purchases 34 acres where the headquarters stands and the 400,000 square-foot building.
  • Nov 11, 2003: Sale to Ross is completed for $614 million. Lee Carpet Division is sold to Mohawk Industries for about $350 million.
  • Dec 2003: Nano-Tex opens new offices in North America, Europe and Asia.
  • March 4, 2004: Guilford County Commissioners vote to hold an April 1 public hearing on a $100,000 incentive deal.
  • March 8, 2004: Starmount Co. announces plans to demolish the landmark headquarters building and plans to create retail, residential and office community.
  • Mar 17, 2004: Ross announces merger of Cone Mills and Burlington Industries. The new private company is called International Textile Group.
  • April 2004: Guilford County Board of Commissioners approves Burlington’s request for a $100,000 incentive package in exchange for keeping its headquarters and at least 200 jobs in the county for four years.
  • July 28, 2004: Burlington announces plan to vacate its West Friendly Ave. headquarters, moving workers into two buildings off Green Valley Road.
  • Aug 2, 2004: W.L. Ross & Co. announces the completion of the merger. ITG will have corporate offices on Green Valley Road in Greensboro in the previous Cone Mills headquarters and in an adjacent office complex. The move is expected to be complete in Nov 2004 and involve no layoffs.
  • May 23, 2005: 430,000-square foot former headquarters building on West Friendly Ave is imploded, the site cleared and a retail center, called The Shops at Friendly Center will be built.
  • Aug 30, 2006: Ross announces a merger between ITG and Safety Components International, a Greenville S.C. company that supplies automotive air bag fabric and cushions and makes synthetic fabrics. The merged company will employ about 9,000; retain the ITG name and the headquarters will remain in Greensboro.
  • Jan 2008: ITG announces that it has named Thomas E. McKenna president of its Cone Denim division. He replaces John L. Bakane, who retired in Dec. McKenna will report to ITG President and CEO Joseph L. Gorga.
  • May 2008: Willis C. “Billy” Moore becomes executive vice president and chief financial officer.
  • Dec 2008: ITG lays-off 150, citing economic conditions
  • Apr 2009: International Textile Group, spokesman says that the White Oak denim plant on Fairview Street has a work force of 300 after a layoff of approximately 100 workers in mid-April. ITG blamed the most recent layoffs on reduced demand for high-end denim made at the plant.
  • Jun 30, 2009: Global Safety Textiles, based in Greensboro and a subsidiary International Textile Group files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company makes automotive air bag fabric and cushions.
  • Jul 2009: Wilbur Ross makes a proposal to invest $55 million in a new entity that would acquire the assets of Global Safety Textiles and its subsidiaries. In addition, Ross plans a loan for $25 million help Global Safety operate until the proposed sale is complete. The deal would be subject to approval by the bankruptcy court and lenders.
  • Jun 2011: The Cone Mills White Oak denim plant at 2420 Fairview St. was back in service 2 days after a lightning strike set fire to part of the roof.
  • Jan 2012: The Greensboro council voted 7-1 to give International Textile Group up to $1 million worth of landfill gas at no cost. The economic incentive is meant to help the company keep about 300 employees at the White Oak textile plant. The city can cancel the agreement if the staff shrinks to fewer than 150 people.
  • Dec. 2013: ITG's Burlington and Cone Denim divisions joined the Nano-manufacturing Consortium. The consortium operates as a program of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro, a collaboration between N.C. A&T and UNCG that is based at Gateway University Research Park. The move gives Burlington, Cone Denim more access to research and development.
  • Feb. 2015: Burlington Industries partners with PurThread Technologies, a Durham based textile companyto provide antimicrobial and anti-odor protection to the global healthcare, industrial and apparel markets. PurThread's yarns kill dangerous bacteria on its surface within hours of contact.
  • Oct. 2015: ITG- Burlington Industries won an $8.38 million federal contract from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons in Manchester, Ky., to provide poly micro denier with sand washed finish.
  • Aug. 5, 2016:International Textile Group said the 2016 Rio de Janiero Summer Olympics Team USA will wear Ralph Lauren designed uniforms of white jeans and blue blazers, which use fabric made by ITG companies Burlington and Cone Denim. The white denim was made at the White Oak plant in Greensboro on 1940s vintage looms.
  • Oct. 24. 2016:International Textile Group, Inc. was acquired by Platinum Equity, an investment group founded by billionaire Tom Gores for $99 million.ITG’s common stock has ceased to be publicly traded. Platinum Equity acquired all of the debt and equity securities of ITG, previously owned by entities managed by WL Ross & Co. LLC and its affiliates.Kenneth T. Kunberger, President & CEO of International Textile Group, continues in his role under the new ownership. ITG employs approximately 4,800 people worldwide with operations in the United States, Mexico and China. Over the past 20 years, Platinum Equity has completed more than 185 acquisitions.



Also See: Cone Mills and Cone Mills History

Sources for Burlington Industries Timeline
Greensboro North Carolina by Ethel Stephens Arnett, 1955, The University of North Carolina Press. Burlington Industries: A Portrait of the World’s Largest and Most Diversified Textile Company, Burlington Industries, Inc., 1966. Burlington Industries History, News & Record archive database.

Compiled by Diane Lamb, News & Record News Researcher

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