DuPont has agreed to sell its Invista textiles unit, which makes nylon and spandex, to two Koch Industries subsidiaries for $4.4 billion in cash. The transaction with KED Fiber Ltd. and KED Fiber LLC is expected to close in the first half of 2004, subject to government approval.

DuPont Chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday Jr. said the sale of Invista, which includes DuPont's nylon, polyester and Lycra fiber businesses, marks one of the most significant changes in the company's 201-year history.

"The fibers businesses have been an important part of DuPont for many decades," he said. "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."

Invista is the largest integrated fiber and intermediates business in the world, with 2002 revenue of $6.3 billion and 18,000 employees. The unit consists of three segments: apparel, interiors and industrial; and intermediates.

The sale of Invista, formerly known as DuPont Textiles and Interiors, is part of DuPont's company-wide restructuring effort amid years of decline in the U.S. textile and apparel industries, mostly because of weakened demand and foreign competition. DuPont announced last year that it was cutting 2,000 jobs in its textiles and interiors unit.

"This acquisition is an excellent fit with our capabilities and vision for long-term growth," said Charles Koch, chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries. "By combining Invista's many capabilities and strong brands, primarily in nylon and spandex, with the polyester businesses of our KoSa subsidiaries, we will create a diverse company, well-positioned to compete in the global fibers and resins markets."