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Hanesbrands Retrofitting Factories to Make Surgical Masks

By Eric Volkman - Mar 23, 2020 at 7:04PM

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The company can apparently manufacture 1.5 million masks per week.

Hanesbrands (HBI -0.46%) has joined in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that can result from it. Confirming remarks made by President Trump at a weekend briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, the veteran apparel maker said it is retrofitting its factories to make surgical face masks for medical professionals involved in the battle. 

The company will shift its production to the masks at several of its factories located in Central America, specifically El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras. It will do so under a contract with, and under standards set by, the federal government. The retrofits will allow the company, which in non-pandemic times specializes in underwear and athletic apparel such as sweatpants, to produce roughly 1.5 million masks weekly.

A collection of surgical face masks.

Image source: Getty Images

"The company's supply chain and product development experts created technical product specifications, including product chemistry, and samples of cotton masks in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that were approved" by the Food and Drug Administration," Hanesbrands wrote in a statement distributed to various media outlets.

The company said those factories will continue to manufacture the standard Hanesbrands products alongside the masks.

Hanesbrands is one of a growing number of companies that have joined a group of apparel makers devoting resources to the production of surgical face masks, of which the U.S. healthcare sector is in short supply. Combined, this consortium apparently has the capacity to make up to 6 million masks per week using Hanesbrands' design.

Hanesbrands, a durable consumer goods stock, held its own on Monday. Despite another downturn in the broader stock market, the company's shares traded sideways on the day. 


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