BBA Group PLC will demerge its Fiberweb business unit making it a separate public company listed on the London Stock Exchange this fall. The action will be the final result of a process to separate its nonwovens business, which achieved sales of $1 billion last year, from its Aviation Services business, a plan originally announced in November. BBA reportedly received a number of offers to buy Fiberweb but decided that the demerger and separate listing of Fiberweb is in the best interests of BBA’s shareholders, according to executives.
In announcing the demerger plan, BBA also unveiled plans to restructure its hygiene and medical business in the Americas. The plan calls for the closure of several older production lines as well as the consolidation of its Simpsonville, SC facility into a smaller footprint.
By late June, Fiberweb will shut down to older production lines—a narrow SMS line and a narrow spunbond line, both based on Lurgi spinning technology. Approximately 60 employees will be impacted. Additionally, a SMMMS barrier line, a spunbond line and one pilot line will close in Simpsonville by the end of July 2006, affecting 100 employees. Two other production lines in Simpsonville will continue to operate normally, and the division headquarters and support structure will remain at the site.
Last year, Fiberweb closed its Toronto facility and moved its two lines to more strategic sites. Amidst this consolidation, the division continues to expand. It is moving ahead with a warehouse expansion in Green Bay ,WI, enhancing its fiber handling capability in Bethune, SC and exploring other investment options for Simpsonville and other sites, according to Dave Rousse, President, BBA Fiberweb Hygiene/Medical Americas Division.