The turn in the road was coming up at full speed and Régitex Inc negotiated it just in time. “It was necessary for us to leave the difficult markets we were in as fast as possible”, recalls Lisa Fecteau, Régitex’s President and equal partner with her brother Sylvain. Started in 1976, Régitex is based in Saint-Joseph, Quebec, with a workforce of 200 and specializes in the manufacture of open end and spun yarns.
The markets Mrs Fecteau refers to are the home furnishing and clothing industries. Five years ago they represented 85% of Régitex’s business, but these markets were becoming increasingly difficult for the entire North-American textile industry, mostly due to cut-throat Chinese competition. In 2005, Régitex decided to develop and produce yarns geared to high performance fabrics and gradually gave up yarn manufacturing for home furnishing and clothing. By 2010, these two markets accounted for approximately 5% of its sales.
Today, Régitex is a high performance specialty yarn spinner who produces the greatest variety of yarns in North America. These yarns are sold into new markets: medical products, transportation, environmental, safety and protection industries. “We invest more than one million dollars per year in R & D to develop new products”, claims Mrs. Fecteau. “Our company worked continuously with its customers and its suppliers to manufacture natural or synthetic fibre products lighter and more resistant.”
Régitex sells its yarns mainly to weavers in the United States, now representing 75% of its sales. To have a “pied-à-terre” for its Americancustomers, and to contend for contracts with the American military Régitex last summer acquired an ownership share of a ring spinning manufacturing plant in Virginia.
“My brother Sylvain will spend the next year in the US to establish our company culture there. We’re working with the employeesin place and already our order book is growing. “ says Mrs Fecteau, who does not rule out the possibility that the company could makes other US acquisitions. Régitex also invests significantly in training its employees to continuously update their knowledge base. Mrs Fecteau explains, “Québec schools no longer train skilled workers for the textile sector, leaving us no alternative but to be responsible for the training and protection of our people and our business.”
* Based on Gilbert Leduc’s November 16, 2010 article in Le Soleil