Westgate buys Brazilian assets of Quaker Fabrics

Quaker filed for bankruptcy in August

Westgate is continuing its expansion in the global home furnishings market, acquiring the Brazilian assets of defunct decorative fabric supplier Quaker Fabrics.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved Westgate’s purchase of Quaker Textil Do Brasil LTDA, based in Sao Paolo, earlier this week. Quaker Fabrics filed for bankruptcy in August 2007; prior to its filing, the company was one of the world’s largest manufacturers of upholstery fabrics.

“We are pleased to add the assets and distribution of Quaker Brazil to our global operation,” said David Li, chief executive officer of Home Furnishing International, LLC, Westgate’s parent firm. “This will enhance Westgate’s status as a worldwide supplier of decorative fabrics and finished home fashions.”

Currently, Westgate operates international distribution centers in Shanghai, Belgium and Mexico, as well as a 275,000-sq.-ft. U.S. distribution center in Gaffney, S.C. “The purchase of Quaker Brazil gives us a new distribution center in Sao Paolo, which will enable us to service accounts throughout South America,” Li said.

Rodrigo Prieto, who served as general manager of Quaker Brazil, will continue in that role, reporting to Li and Billy DeSousa, vice president of international sales. “We are very pleased to have an experienced local executive manage the business,” Li said.

Osvaldo Schenquerman, Westgate regional sales manager based in Argentina, will continue to manage Westgate’s exports to Central and South America, except Brazil.  Schenquerman reports to DeSousa.

The Quaker brand name is included in the purchase. “Quaker Brazil remains an extremely well-respected and important brand name in decorative fabrics in Brazil,” Li said. “The Brazilian subsidiary has been performing very well, but unfortunately was caught up in the bankruptcy of the parent company.”

Westgate will market decorative fabrics under the Quaker brand in Brazil. “We also will be expanding the assortment to include home fashions and accessories by the end of the year,” Li said. “We feel this will be an important addition to our international business, and help facilitate our growth in the global arena.”

Founded in China in 1991, Westgate’s parent company owns and operates six weaving mills, one print plant, one dyeing and finishing facility, three finished product facilities, one trimming plant and a computer-aided design studio in China. The Chinese division employs more than 2,600 people and currently exports decorative fabrics, apparel fabrics and finished home fashions to more than 70 countries. Total annual sales for the privately held company are in excess of $160 million.

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