Nonwoven fabrics maker Fiberweb Plc will sell its hygiene business to Brazil-based Petropar for $286 million in cash, to repay debt. Fiberweb has been partners with Petropar’s nonwovens unit Fitesa since mid 2009. The two companies operate a joint venture, known as FitesaFiberweb and headquartered in Simpsonville, SC, that incorporates the two companies’ hygiene-related assets in the Americas including sites in Washington, Mexico and Brazil as well as a greenfield site in Simpsonville, where a second spunmelt line is currently under construction.
The sale includes Fiberweb’s stake in this joint venture as well as hygiene-related nonwovens lines in Italy and Sweden. Fiberweb cited lower margins in its hygiene business as compared to the industrial business another reason for the sale, which is expected to be completed by the year-end.
The hygiene business had sales of about £193 million in 2010 and operating profit of about £12 million.
In addition to the existing assets in the Americas, FitesaFiberweb is reportedly examining the possibility of adding assets in China through a joint venture with Japan’s Chisso Corporation.