HAMLET — A local textile manufacturer was recently acquired by a French-based medical devices company.
Thuasne announced in a Jan. 7 press release that it acquired Knit-Rite and its Therafirm Division, the latter of which has been in Richmond County since the mid-90s. The transaction closed on Dec. 31.
Knit-Rite is a leader in medical textiles, with the Therafirm plant specializing in compression hosiery.
“This acquisition confirms the ambition for the Thuasne Group to have a global presence in both the phlebology and lymphology treatment categories, with compliance in each geographic specification,” Thuasne Group Chairman and CEO Elizabeth Ducottet said in a statement. “Thuasne’s expertise in French and German standards, with confirmed proven efficacy of bandage and stocking treatment, complimented by KnitRite’s knowledge in the U.S. standards, gives us the capacity to provide solutions for patients globally.”
According to the press release, this is Thuasne’s fourth acquisition in the U.S. in the past decade — and its largest.
Thuasne, which was founded in 1847, broke into the American market in 2011 with the acquisition of Townsend Design. Five years later, the company acquired Quinn Medical, according to the release.
The company’s U.S. location is in Bakersfield, California and its products include knee, neck and back braces, mobilizing pads and hot/cold packs.
“We look forward to this new season as part of Thuasne, a company with a similar culture to ours, as we continue our growth in … the various medical markets we serve worldwide,” Chris Vering, the succeeding CEO of Knit-Rite/Therafirm said in a statement.
According to a 2018 press release, Therafirm was founded in the 1950s as Parke-Davis Hosiery, which developed “one of the first gradient compression stockings in the United States.”
Kansas City, Kansas-based Knit-Rite bought Therafirm in 2000 and built a new facility in Hamlet in 2013, moving from Ellerbe.
In 2017, Therafirm was honored for being the state’s top rural exporter.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Therafirm converted its machines and switched production from compression legwear to develop the Don’t Touch Your Face! mask in April 2020 during the personal protective equipment shortage.
In July of last year, Therafirm donated more than 16,000 of those masks to Richmond County Schools.
“We’re really excited about Thuasne and the acquisition, Plant Manager Ross Mason told the RO on Monday. “They’ve been in business for 174 years now and they’ve got a proven track record in the medical compression and device industry in Europe.”
Mason was named the new manager of Therafirm in June 2020 and recently took the reins following the retirement of Ken Hartley on Dec. 23.
“Our goal here is to expand business, grow jobs and maintain manufacturing locally in Richmond County and we feel blessed and very excited about what they have in store for us,” Mason said. “The fit is about as perfect as you could get with two family owned businesses combining forces.”