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NAT & Hanes sign 10-year buying deal for CRAiLAR
Mar '11
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc has agreed to a ten-year CRAiLAR fiber supply agreement with Hanesbrands Inc. that will commercialize NAT's proprietary fibers. Terms of the agreement were undisclosed. This represents NAT's initial commercialization agreement for CRAiLAR and establishes the foundation for continued adoption of its proprietary flax-based fiber.

The all-natural CRAiLAR process is the first to remove the binding agents from flax that contribute to its stiff texture by bathing it in a proprietary enzyme wash. The result is a textile fiber that merges the strength and durability of flax with the most desirable attributes of cotton. Yarns made from CRAiLAR fibers can be used in knit, woven or non-woven fabrics alone, or blended with other natural fibers used to manufacture apparel products similar to those marketed by Hanesbrands, a leading basic apparel company based in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"This agreement is a strong validation of our CRAiLAR technology and a demonstration of its ability to perform within the Hanesbrands family," said Ken Barker, CEO of NAT. "The Company has been working toward this agreement since the collaborative partnership with Hanesbrands began in August 2009, and we expect to begin shipping to our full existing capacity beginning next month. Hanesbrands has been an invaluable partner to our proof of concept and we look forward to expanding our relationship with them and others as we move forward."

CRAiLAR Flax is soft like cotton, has a similar color, possesses similar performance traits and is comfortable to wear year-round. CRAiLAR Flax and cotton look the same, fit the same and wash the same. Yet CRAiLAR Flax fibers shrink less than cotton fibers, wick moisture better, and have increased dye uptake, meaning they require fewer chemicals to achieve the same depth of color.

The agreement is the culmination of a multiphase joint development agreement announced in August 2009 with the intent to commercialize CRAiLAR. Hanesbrands made its first purchase of 10,000 lbs of CRAiLAR in the first quarter of 2010 and, after successful spinning trials, announced a final evaluation phase in Q2 2010. In December 2010, the companies announced additional product testing that called for Hanesbrands to purchase up to $375,000 of CRAiLAR Flax fiber between December 1, 2010 and early 2011.

In January 2011, NAT and Hanesbrands announced a joint research partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) designed to cultivate and evaluate the viability of various flax strains for use in CRAiLAR technology. The project takes place in South Carolina and has an initial term of one year, with a renewal option for two additional years.

Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc

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