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Fiberweb, Chisso Explore Partnership

December 15, 2009

JV would make spunmelt in China.

Fiberweb and Chisso have announced they are exploring the possibility of establishing a joint venture company to produce spunmelt nonwovens in China. The proposed venture would focus on hygiene and personal care products and would use the latest generation of spunbond/spunmelt manufacturing technology, benefiting from the extensive experience of both partners in specialty spunmelt technology.

Both Japan-based Chisso Corporation and Fiberweb plc, of the U.K., consider the personal hygiene market in China and throughout Asia strategically important to the future development of their nonwovens production businesses. The feasibility study will focus on evaluating the technologies and volumes that will be required to support these markets over the next three to five years.

“This agreement between Chisso and Fiberweb to explore investment opportunities in Asia jointly marks another exciting step in Fiberweb’s drive to establish a global platform for its leading spunbond business,” said Fiberweb CEO Daniel Dayan. “Both Chisso and Fiberweb bring important commercial and technical insights to this assessment of the market, and we look forward to a close and fruitful cooperation.

This summer, Fiberweb formed a joint venture with Brazilian spunmelt manufacturer Fitesa, combining assets in Brazil, Mexico and the U.S. Last month, the venture announced it had begun construction on a previously announced, state-of-the-art, brand new spunmelt operation in Simpsonville, SC. Fiberweb also independently operates high-speed spunmelt lines in Italy and Sweden.

Through its fibers division, Chisso makes bicomponent spunbond nonwovens primarily targeted at the Japanese hygiene markets.

“So far, our spunbond business has been targeted mainly in the Japanese market-based on Chisso’s bicomponent fiber technology,” said Chisso COO and president Shunichi Okada. “We have been highly reputed by both within and outside of Japan. It is quite exciting to conduct a feasibility study of a new spunbond joint venture in China with Fiberweb that has a leading roll in global market of spunbond business. I strongly believe that this study allows us to explore the launch of a new joint venture company to highly satisfy customers by utilizing both parties’ experience and technical expertise.”

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