07-25-2007 16:54
Hanil Synthetic Fiber Seeks Another Takeoff

Hanil Synthetic Fiber CEO
& Vice Chairman
Ku Ja-hong
By Ryu Jin
Staff Reporter

Hanil Synthetic Fiber is seeking to make another launch with its goal of becoming an export-oriented company specializing in fashion in the years to come.

Hanil Synthetic Fiber, which joined Tong Yang Group last February, plans to establish a new casual brand next year, abandoning its famous brand ``RESUME¡¯¡¯ the company has cherished for 17 years.

Since its foundation in 1964, Hanil Synthetic Fiber has focused on exports and received the ``$100 Million Export Tower¡¯¡¯ in 1973 for the first time in South Korea as a single company that spearheaded the country¡¯s textile exports in the 1970s and 1980s.

But the company suffered setbacks in the course of diversifying its businesses in 1997, when a financial crisis hit Asian countries. Since then, the company had been under court receivership until it was taken over by Tong Yang Group.

On Feb. 8, when it escaped receivership and joined Tong Yang, Hanil Synthetic Fiber declared a new start to restore its past reputation by focusing on textile and fashion industries through thorough restructuring, according to company officials.

In the past, Hanil Synthetic Fiber had engaged in various businesses from textile, fashion and apparel exports to construction, machinery and leisure industries. But now the company knows where it should concentrate its focus.

Hanil Synthetic Fiber CEO & Vice Chairman Ku Ja-hong set the company¡¯s future direction after five months of reorganization and rearrangement processes -- being reborn as a fashion-oriented enterprise backed by the synergy effect within the group.

In this vein, the company¡¯s construction business would be integrated with Tong Yang Major Engineering & Construction, which plans an aggressive business expansion utilizing its real estate holdings across the country including Changwon, Daegu and Uiryeong.

Hanil Synthetic Fiber would also rearrange its leisure business together with Tong Yang Leisure. Yeongnang-ho Resort, a 660,000-square meter plot with a lake with an area of nearly one million square meters, in Sokcho near the East Coast, is one of its major items.

``Many people remember Hanil Synthetic Fiber as a company that made an innovative contribution to the country¡¯s clothing life in the past,¡¯¡¯ Ku said. ``Now we are going to regain the reputation through our restructuring efforts.¡¯¡¯

With his expertise in corporate takeover and management, Ku has played a leading role in taking over AmEx Credit Card Korea for the establishment of Tong Yang Card and Tong Yang Life Insurance¡¯s merger and acquisition of Taepyeongyang Life Insurance.

Ku set forth his mid- and long-term strategy to funnel the company¡¯s energy into textile, clothing and fashion industries while trying to make its complex business structures more simple and effective.

For the rebirth as an advanced corporation in the 21st century, Hanil Synthetic Fiber has continued to establish overseas production bases and invest in research and development for higher value-added new products.

With a daily production capacity of 200 tons of acrylic fibers, 200,000 spindles of worsted yarns, 120,000 spindles of cotton yarns and various other apparel products, the company is capable of manufacturing all from raw materials to finished product.

In order to enhance global competitiveness, in particular, the company has recently set up a 200,000-spindle joint-venture spinning mills in Indonesia, India and China, and is operating an apparel mill in Honduras.

Hanil Synthetic Fiber is to expand overseas investment further. Officials said it¡¯s pushing for construction of a sewing factory in Indonesia and expand its Honduras factory next month.

``We are going to invest some 20 billion won ($21.8 million) solely for the textile and clothing businesses, as we plan to strengthen our spun-bonded fabric and other special fabric,¡¯¡¯ a company spokesman said.

In the fashion industry, Hanil Synthetic Fiber owns two famous casual brands: ``Windy Club¡¯¡¯ for men and ``RESUME¡¯¡¯ for women. But the company decided to drop RESUME due to poor public recognition. Windy Club, oriented toward comfortable, young and modern wear, was launched in 1983 and has established itself as the flagship brand for men for a long time. Company officials said they would take a more aggressive approach to revive the power of Windy Club.

``We see a bright future now that even the labor union is collaborating proactively with the management to spur the company¡¯s utmost efforts for the fresh start and future growth,¡¯¡¯ the spokesman said.