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Celanese and Under Armour Develop Innovative New NEOLAST™ Fiber for Use in Performance Stretch Fabrics

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Celanese Corporation and Under Armour, Inc. have collaborated to develop NEOLAST™ Fiber, an alternative to elastane for performance stretch fabrics. The new fiber offers powerful stretch, durability, comfort, and improved wicking while addressing sustainability challenges associated with elastane, including recyclability. It is produced using a proprietary solvent-free process and recyclable elastoester polymers, potentially improving the compatibility of stretch fabrics with future recycling systems and infrastructure.
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The introduction of NEOLAST™ fibers by Celanese Corporation in collaboration with Under Armour is a significant advancement in the realm of performance textiles. From a materials science perspective, the key innovation lies in the solvent-free melt-extrusion process used to produce these fibers. Traditional elastane production often involves solvents that can be environmentally damaging, so this new method represents a considerable improvement in manufacturing sustainability.

Moreover, the use of recyclable elastoester polymers addresses a major challenge in the textile industry: the difficulty of recycling blended fabrics. Elastane's widespread use in performance apparel comes at the cost of recyclability, as it complicates the separation process during recycling. NEOLAST™ fibers could potentially transform the industry by enabling easier recycling of performance fabrics, thus contributing to a more circular economy.

However, the transition to a new material also entails challenges. The market will need to adapt to the new fiber's properties and the infrastructure for recycling such materials must be developed. There's also the question of whether NEOLAST™ can match or exceed elastane's performance in terms of stretch, durability and comfort, which will be critical for consumer acceptance.

From an environmental standpoint, NEOLAST™ fibers represent a strategic move towards reducing the ecological footprint of the apparel industry. The recyclability of these fibers could lead to a decrease in textile waste, a pressing issue given the millions of tons of textile waste generated annually. By potentially allowing for the end-of-life recycling of performance stretch fabrics, NEOLAST™ aligns with global sustainability trends and consumer demand for more eco-friendly products.

It is essential to consider the life cycle assessment of NEOLAST™ compared to traditional elastane. If the new fiber indeed has a lower environmental impact throughout its life cycle—from production to disposal—it could attract significant interest from environmentally conscious brands and consumers. However, the environmental benefits must be clearly communicated and substantiated to avoid accusations of 'greenwashing.'

Furthermore, the collaboration between Celanese and Under Armour could set a precedent for other companies to invest in sustainable materials, potentially leading to broader industry shifts. The success of NEOLAST™ could encourage further R&D in eco-friendly materials, driving innovation and competitiveness in the sector.

From a market perspective, the launch of NEOLAST™ fibers could impact the competitive landscape of the performance apparel industry. The ability to engineer fibers to meet a broader array of fabric specifications allows for customization and could lead to a diverse range of new products. This level of innovation may provide Under Armour with a competitive edge, especially if NEOLAST™ delivers on its performance promises.

Furthermore, making NEOLAST™ available to the broader apparel industry suggests that Celanese is targeting a wider market share, potentially disrupting the current reliance on elastane. If the performance and sustainability benefits of NEOLAST™ are well-received, it may lead to increased demand, influencing stock market valuations for both Celanese and Under Armour.

However, the adoption rate of NEOLAST™ by other apparel companies will be critical. It will depend on the cost of transitioning to NEOLAST™, the ease of integration into existing manufacturing processes and the material's market reception. The long-term impact on the stock market will hinge on these factors and the scalability of NEOLAST™ production.

NEOLAST™ Fiber Offers Elevated Stretch Performance While Helping Address Sustainability Challenges Associated with Elastane

DALLAS & BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Celanese Corporation (NYSE: CE), a global specialty materials and chemical company, and Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE: UA, UAA), a global leader and innovator in athletic apparel and footwear, have collaborated to develop a new fiber for performance stretch fabrics called NEOLAST™. The innovative material will offer the apparel industry a high-performing alternative to elastane – an elastic fiber that gives apparel stretch, commonly called spandex. This new alternative could unlock the potential for end users to recycle performance stretch fabrics, a legacy aspect that has yet to be solved in the pursuit of circular manufacturing with respect to stretch fabrics.

NEOLAST™ fibers feature the powerful stretch, durability, comfort, and improved wicking expected from elite performance fabrics yet are also designed to begin addressing sustainability challenges associated with elastane, including recyclability. The fibers are produced using a proprietary solvent-free melt-extrusion process, eliminating potentially hazardous chemicals typically used to create stretch fabrics made with elastane.

NEOLAST™ fibers will be produced using recyclable elastoester polymers, a critical first step for the industry to address the challenge of recycling blended fabrics containing elastane. As end users transition to a more circular economy, Celanese and Under Armour are exploring the potential of the fibers to improve the compatibility of stretch fabrics with future recycling systems and infrastructure.

“Working with a leading global brand like Under Armour to elevate the performance and sustainability benefits of their products is just the first of many great things we hope to accomplish with this innovative NEOLAST™ technology,” said Tom Kelly, Celanese senior vice president, Engineered Materials. “Celanese is proud to bring its polymer expertise and technical know-how to help manufacture NEOLAST™ fibers for textiles and fabrics to meet the specific needs of our customers and other value chain partners. We are just beginning to unlock its potential and look forward to what’s ahead as we explore other opportunities with end users.”

“This new NEOLAST™ fiber represents a transformative innovation for Under Armour and the textile industry, embodying our commitment to building better products for our consumers and planet,” said Kyle Blakely, senior vice president of innovation at Under Armour. "Through performance-driven sustainability and innovation, we look forward to helping athletes play at the top of their game as we work with Celanese to realize this new fiber’s potential to forge a path toward circularity.”

In addition to the sustainability benefits, the new NEOLAST™ fibers deliver increased production precision, allowing spinners to dial power-stretch levels up or down and engineer fibers to meet a broader array of fabric specifications.

In addition to Celanese exploring application opportunities with Under Armour, the company intends to make the fiber available to the broader apparel industry, potentially reducing elastane dependence.

To learn more, visit www.neolastfibers.com.

About Celanese

Celanese Corporation is a global chemical leader in producing differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Our businesses use the full breadth of Celanese's global chemistry, technology and commercial expertise to create value for our customers, employees, shareholders and the corporation. As we partner with our customers to solve their most critical business needs, we strive to positively impact our communities and the world through The Celanese Foundation. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 13,000 employees worldwide and had 2022 net sales of $9.7 billion. For more information about Celanese Corporation and its product offerings, visit www.celanese.com.

About Under Armour

Under Armour, Inc., headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a leading inventor, marketer, and distributor of branded athletic performance apparel, footwear, and accessories. Designed to empower human performance, Under Armour's innovative products and experiences are engineered to make athletes better. For further information, please visit http://about.underarmour.com.

Celanese:

Investor Relations

Brandon Ayache

+1 972 443 8509

brandon.ayache@celanese.com

Media Relations – Global

Brian Bianco

+1 972 443 4400

media@celanese.com

Media Relations Europe (Germany)

Petra Czugler

+49 69 45009 1206

petra.czugler@celanese.com

Under Armour:

Investor Relations

Lance Allega

+1 410 246 6810

lance.allega@underarmour.com

Media Relations – Global

Anna Harry

+1 757 256 9247

anna.harry@underarmour.com

Source: Celanese Corporation

FAQ

What is the name of the new fiber developed by Celanese Corporation and Under Armour, Inc.?

The new fiber is called NEOLAST™ Fiber.

What are the sustainability benefits of NEOLAST™ Fiber?

NEOLAST™ Fiber addresses sustainability challenges associated with elastane, including recyclability. It is produced using a proprietary solvent-free process and recyclable elastoester polymers, potentially improving the compatibility of stretch fabrics with future recycling systems and infrastructure.

How is NEOLAST™ Fiber produced?

NEOLAST™ Fiber is produced using a proprietary solvent-free melt-extrusion process, eliminating potentially hazardous chemicals typically used to create stretch fabrics made with elastane. It is produced using recyclable elastoester polymers.

What company collaborated to develop NEOLAST™ Fiber?

Celanese Corporation and Under Armour, Inc. collaborated to develop NEOLAST™ Fiber.

What are the potential applications of NEOLAST™ Fiber?

In addition to exploring application opportunities with Under Armour, Celanese intends to make the fiber available to the broader apparel industry, potentially reducing elastane dependence.

Celanese Corporation

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