June 14, 2005

profiles of the top worldwide manufacturers of nonwovens

This years top company report was more challenging than ever. The difficult world economy has left many producers in the same boatreporting flat or declining sales and awaiting market recovery. Instead of the capacity expansions and new market opportunities reported in previous surveys, this year, measures companies are taking to prepare for economic recovery are the main headlines. Many roll goods producers have been reorganizing their businesses and focusing on ways to add value to their nonwovens to be ready when the economy finally recovers. These plans range from focusing on core businesses and expanding into untapped markets to reducing capacity and increased research and development spending. It will be interesting to see which strategy is the right one once things turnaround for nonwovens.

Still, this years report is not without its highlights. Fresh out of bankruptcy and sporting new leadership, PGI Nonwovens has finalized a six point plan to keep it from repeating past mistakes. Executives are confident that this strategy will keep the company on track for future sales and earnings growth. Another company making headlines is Ahlstrom FiberComposites with a string of acquisitions and capacity expansions. Meanwhile, Vita Nonwovens, formerly Libeltex, has been boosting its North American business with one Greenfield site up and running and another slated to open its doors next month. These plans show that the nonwovens industry is now at a turning point. The leaders of today may not be the leaders of tomorrow, if they dont watch out. There are plenty of companies well poised to take their place.

Alphabetical Listing
Company Ranking
Ahlstrom 6
Asahi Kasei 13
Avgol 23
BP Fabrics & Fibers 29
Buckeye 8
Colbond 9
Companhia Providencia 39
Concert Industries 28
DuPont 2
Fibertex 25
Foss Manufacturing 11
Freudenberg 1
Georgia-Pacific 16
Hollingsworth & Vose 11
Jacob Holm 33
IMP Group 17
Japan Vilene 10
Johns Manville 7
Kimberly-Clark 3
KNH 39
Kuraray 34
Lantor 40
Lohmann 22
Lydall 24
Mitsui Chemicals 21
Orlandi 31
Pantex 40
Pegas 33
Precision Custom Coatings 36
Polyfelt 26
Sandler AG 19
SI 20
Suominen Nonwovens 27
Tenotex 37
Textilgruppe Hof 32
Toyobo 17
Unitika 30
Vita Nonwovens 14
Western Nonwovens 14
A Look At The Companies
This years Top Companies report includes 17 North American companies, 15 European manufacturers, six Japanese producers as well as one Middle Eastern, one South American and one Taiwanese company. Making its debut this year is Czech producer, Pegas A.S., which marks the first time an Eastern Europe-based company has been profiled. A producer of spunmelt nonwovens for the hygiene markets, Pegas has been growing rapidly in recent years on an ambitious investment program. Its entry to the top company report reaffirms the growing importance of Eastern Europe as a nonwovens-producing and consuming world region.

As has been the case in every Top Companies report to date, Freudenberg was named the largest producer in the world last year, reporting global sales of $1.4 billion. Like last year, DuPont took the second position with $1.2 billion; Kimberly-Clark was third with $900 million and BBA was fourth with $850 million. Rounding out the top 10 were PGI, Ahlstrom, Johns Manville, Buckeye Technologies, Colbond and Japan Vilene.

Moving down the rankings, it is interesting to note how close in size many of the companies are, when it comes to sales figures. Thirty-one of the top 40 producers are separated by only $100 million in annual sales. This means that a company only has to increase its sales slightly to give it a big boost in our survey.

Nonwovens Industry Top Companies report is compiled by our editorial staff and is the result of personal interviews with top executives at the companies profiled. As usual, many of the companies profiled in this survey do not provide us with exact sales figures so their sales are estimated by Nonwovens Industry using industry sources. Also, all companies, regardless of their headquarters, are ranked according to U.S. dollars sales. The dollar amounts are converted from local currencies using the 2002 average exchange rate, as provided by www.oanda.com. Because of currency exchange fluctuations, some companies rankings have been affected by the conversion.

As always, we appreciate your comments.

* Nonwovens Industry has attempted to make this survey as complete and accurate as possible. If you think your company should be included in this report, please contact us at nonwovens@rodpub.com.

Top Roll Goods
Company Worldwide
Nonwovens Sales
1 Freudenberg $1.4 billion
2 DuPont $1.2 billion
3 K-C $900 million
4 BBA $850 million
5 PGI $750 million
6 Ahlstrom $651 million
7 Johns Manville $525 million
8 Buckeye Technologies $225 million
9 Colbond $223 million
10 Japan Vilene $168 million
11 Foss Manufacturing $150 million
11 Hollingsworth & Vose $150 million
13 Asahi Kasei $147 million
14 Vita Nonwovens $140 million
14 Western Nonwovens Inc. $140 million
16 Georgia-Pacific $133 million
17 Toyobo $125 million
18 IMP $120 million
19 Sandler $119 million
20 SI Industries $100 million
21 Mitsui Chemicals $96 million
22 Lohmann $92 million
23 Avgol $91 million
24 Lydall $90 million
25 Fibertex $89 million
26 Polyfelt $85 million
27 Suominen $84 million
28 Concert Industries $82 million
29 BP Amoco $80 million
30 Unitika $74 million
31 Orlandi $72 million
32 Textilgruppe Hof $71 million
33 Jacob Holm Industries $65 million
33 Pegas $65 million
35 Kuraray $64 million
36 Precision Custom Coatings $60 million
37 Tenotex $59 million
38 Companhia Providencia $58 million
39 KNH Enterprises $55 million
40 Lantor $47 million
40 Pantex $47 million

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