Brazilian nonwovens producer Fitesa, together with Gov. Mark Sanford, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Laurens County, announced that it will invest and locate its new North American operations in Laurens County, SC. Fitesa will invest $120 million and create 80 jobs at its South Carolina facility to produce nonwovens with state-of-the-art technology.
“This initiative is part of the company's long-term growth strategy and reassures the commitment to Fitesa’s customers in the NAFTA region. For this reason, South Carolina has a strong importance due to its proximity to major ports, easy access to railroads and highways and excellent manpower and infrastructure availability,” said Fitesa’s managing director Silverio Baranzano.
Fitesa, a Petropar company, is among the largest polypropylene nonwoven producers in the world. Fitesa’s nonwovens are used as raw material in numerous every-day products including disposable diapers and hygiene products, medical apparel, home furnishings and mattresses. Other product applications include agriculture, automotive, construction, footwear and luggage, industrial disposables and packaging.
Fitesa has one supersite in southern Brazil, Gravatai, Rio Grande do Sul, in which 45,000 metric tons per year of nonwovens of different technologies are produced. Fitesa announced earlier this year it would enter the North American market, eventually building two spunmelt lines in the southeast U.S. Earlier efforts in North America included a spunmelt operation in Mooresville, NC, started by Fitesa and sold to Polymer Group Inc. in the early 1990s.