Global textile and chemical giant DuPont (dupont.com) announced today that it plans to sell its Invista fiber division, formerly DuPont Textiles and Interiors, to two subsidiaries of Kansas-based Koch Industries (kochind.com) for $4.4 billion in cash.

The deal, which is subject to US government approval, should be finalized in the first half of 2004. It will transfer ownership of Invista to Koch-owned KED Fiber Ltd. and KED Fiber LLC.

Since Invista produces nylon and spandex, the unit’s sale is seen as an important step away from the fashion business for 201-year-old DuPont.

Chad Holliday, DuPont chairman and CEO, echoed that feeling in a public statement. He said, "This is a major milestone in the ongoing transformation of DuPont. The fibers businesses have been an important part of DuPont for many decades. However, marketplace realities dictate they can best realize their potential as part of a company like Koch which is fully committed to Invista and the markets it serves."

The acquisition of Invista will augment Koch’s growing power in the textile industry. One of its subsidiaries, Texas-based KoSa (kosa.com), for example, already operates 14 manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe that produce well-known fibers and insulation materials such as Polarguard.