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All That Jazz



producers are playing a catchy tune in the baby diaper sector



Published August 17, 2005
Related Searches: breathable SCA Andrew film

All That Jazz
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a review of recent news in the baby diaper sector, where producers are playing a catchy tune
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Amir Paper Products
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The recent focus at Amir Paper Products, Upper Galilee, Israel, is an addition to its line of disposable baby diapers. The new, breathable diaper is designed to allow a continuous flow of fresh air to the baby’s skin and features a clothlike backsheet with breathable sides and a liquid trapping system made of SMS hydrophobic fabric, which adds extra leakage protection. The diaper also features the soothing, healing properties of aloe vera.

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Amir Paper Products’ baby diapers are available in all sizes and can be produced and packaged according to customer specifications, including regular or mechanical closure systems, “no leak” standing leg gathers or a unique liquid trapping pocket system. Private label packing is also available.

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Associated Hygienic Products
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Associated Hygienic Products, Duluth, GA, has launched its “Super Fan-nies” line of diapers. The products—which are licensed through the Collegiate Licensing Company—are decorated with college sports team logos. Associated Hygienic currently makes diapers featuring the logos of the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Tennessee, Auburn University, Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, University of Alabama and University of Texas.

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Braco Manufacturing
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News at Braco Manufacturing, South Plainfield, NJ, centers around the start-up of affiliate Hygiene Wen International Ltd., Indore, India, as well as the availability of private label products in all three of the company’s locations. A new high speed, state-of-the-art baby diaper machine will be installed during the first quarter of 2000 at Braco’s affiliated manufacturer Consorcio Absorbven, Caracas, Venezuela.

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BZ Leader
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As of December 1, Ever Summit International, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, has changed its name to BZ Leader International Co., Ltd. The company also launched a new business during 1998 for adult incontinence diapers and underpads.

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Drypers
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Baby diaper manufacturer Drypers, Houston, TX, kept busy in 1999 and signed several supply agreements during the year. In the first, the company agreed to supply diapers under the “Waddles” brand name to the Save-A-Lot store chain. The agreement is part of a strategy to build operations margins by increasing capacity utilization and continuing to grow its presence with select retailers. The company also signed an agreement with Kmart Corporation, which gives Drypers nationwide U.S. distribution of its “Drypers” brand disposable diapers. Finally, Drypers renewed its private label agreement with Amway, one of the largest U.S. distributors of private label products.

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In another marketing move, Drypers has expanded its worldwide relationship with Wal-Mart Inc., Bentonville, AR, to include the production of private label diapers in the U.S. under the “Dri Bottoms” name. Drypers currently provides private label diapers under the “Cozies” and “Cosies” brand names to Wal-Mart in international locations. Shipments to Wal-Mart stores across the U.S. were scheduled to begin during the fourth quarter of 1999. Drypers has also expanded its relationship with Wal-Mart outside of the U.S. by establishing distribution agreements in Canada, Germany and China. Wal-Mart affiliate Cifra will retail Drypers in Mexico. Drypers currently distributes branded or private label products through Wal-Mart stores in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Asia.

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Also in 1999, Drypers reached an agreement to supply private label diapers to U.S.-based retail grocery chain The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, OH. The agreement covers stores in seven of Kroger’s private label markets. Drypers expanded distribution of its “Drypers” brand diapers to include U.S. retail grocery chain Food Lion as of the fourth quarter of 1999. The agreement includes all Food Lion and Kash N Karry stores located throughout the eastern and southeastern U.S.

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Finally, Drypers has partnered with Internet promotions service planet U (www.planetU.com) to offer coupons—or “U-pons”— for disposable baby diapers and related products at participating supermarket or mass drugstore websites. Customers can either use their U-pons through frequent shopper cards or have them mailed to their homes.

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Etech
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One recent highlight at Etech, Norwalk, CT, is the debut of a wireless version of its “Smart Diaper” technology. Designed for newborns and adult incontinence applications, the additional feature will allow the monitoring of diaper wetness through a remote receiver, similar to a one-way intercom. The Smart Diaper technology is designed to offer a functional, commercially viable and user-friendly means of using sensing technology in diapers. Etech currently offers Smart Diaper products in the following categories: “WeeTell” for newborns and infants, “WeeTrain” for potty training, “WeeStop” for bed wetting and “WetSense” for adult incontinence applications.

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Ecoprogress
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Absorbent product manufacturer Ecoprogress, Vancouver, Canada, has established a joint research and development project with Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ, for the development of a biodegradable diaper and incontinence pad. The agreement will combine Ecoprogress’ patented “B-9” film—used in its “Simplicities” line of flushable, biodegradable feminine hygiene products—with J&J’s superabsorbent, naturally biodegradable spaghnum moss. Also marketed under the “Absorbec” label, the moss has already been used in products such as “Stayfree” sanitary napkins. The companies see the project as an “Eco-Sensitive” alternative to non-biodegradable absorbent products.

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Indelpa S.A. de C.V.
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Mexican baby diaper producer Indelpa S.A. de C.V., Xalostoc, has added to its diaper product line-up with the addition of “Baby Dry” and “Suabebe” brand products to its existing “Sekecito” and “Sekecito Gel” brand diapers. The company also manufactures “Confem,” “Confiance” and “Protex” brand sanitary napkins, as well as “Adults” brand adult incontinence products.

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Paul Hartmann AG
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It has been a busy year for Paul Hartmann AG, Heidenheim, Germany, with the launch of its “Fixies” ultra dry baby diapers, which feature a completely breathable “Air Active” backsheet. The Air Active system, which helps keep baby’s skin healthy, have dermatoligical studies confirming the effectiveness of the system. Also new from Paul Hartmann is “Fixies Extra Class” diapers with the “Elastic Fit” system. According to the company, this unique combination of an elastic waistband, stretch tapes and a completely elastic and breathable backsheet results in a more comfortable diaper.

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Kimberly-Clark
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Another manufacturer making news recently is Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX. In the acquisition area, K-C and American Israeli Paper Mills (AIPM), Hadera, Israel, purchased Turkey-based baby diaper manufacturer Ovisan. The $17.3 million purchase was made by Hogla-Kimberly, a company jointly owned by AIPM and K-C. The purchase—meant to broaden the base of international activity by Hogla-Kimberly in the Mediterranean countries and Europe—is intended to provide leverage for the manufacturing and marketing of AIPM’s products in those regions.
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In other news, K-C is reportedly involved in a lawsuit with fluff and specialty pulp supplier Weyerhaeuser, Seattle, WA. The litigation—which was filed in Seattle’s U.S. District Court in early October—accuses K-C of misappropriating trade secrets used to make diapers and other absorbent products. According to Weyerhaeuser, it made agreements with K-C in 1995 and 1997 to evaluate the use of Weyerhaeuser’s absorbent fibers with K-C’s products and not to disclose proprietary information. Weyerhaeuser also contends that K-C wrongly disclosed some of the confidential information over the next two years in applications for U.S. and foreign patents. “Kimberly-Clark (has) disclosed Weyerhaeuser’s trade secrets in order to gain a competitive advantage and to enhance its business without the investment of significant capital, know-how and hard work put forth by Weyerhaeuser,” the suit alleges. The document goes on to request that K-C withdraw its patent applications containing the information and award unspecified damages. For its part, K-C reportedly considers the allegations without merit and plans to mount a strong defense.

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In the area of product upgrades, K-C introduced a new feature in 1999 for its line of “Pull-Ups” training pants. The upgraded product—which is currently available in stores—features patterns of “Magic Stars” (for boys) and “Magic Flowers”(for girls), which fade when wet. According to K-C, the product update is part of efforts to make the toilet training process easier for parents and children. The new patterns are designed to help early toilet trainers understand the difference between wet and dry and offer all trainers an incentive to stay dry. Each package also features a leaflet with games that parents and children can play together.

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Laboratorios Indas
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Spanish private label baby diaper and sanitary napkin manufacturer, Laboratorios Indas S.A., Madrid, has been busy recently promoting a new line of disposable diapers. Sold under the “Nene” name, the product will be one of the newest diapers in the market using air laid material instead of cellulose.

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MPC Productos
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1999 was also an active year for Brazilian diaper manufacturer MPC Productos para Higiene, Blumenau. The company updated its product mix by launching a full line of diapers that include anti-leakage cuffs, which are reportedly the main attribute of the intermediate segment of the diaper market in Brazil. As of October 1999, MPC had a 10% share of the baby diaper market in that country.

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Paragon
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In an update on the ongoing settlement among Paragon Trade Brands, Norcross, GA, Proctor & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, and Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX, the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia approved settlement agreements between the companies. The deal provides for a resolution of all P&G claims pending in Paragon’s bankruptcy proceeding, including issues surrounding a much-publicized patent dispute over leg cuff design.

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Under terms of the agreement, Paragon grants P&G a prepetition unsecured claim of $185.5 million and an administrative claim of $5 million. As part of the deal, P&G will also grant licenses to Paragon in the U.S. and Canada that give Paragon the freedom under P&G’s patents to market dual cuff diaper and training pant products and in exchange, Paragon will pay P&G running royalties on net sales. Once the settlement is approved, the parties have agreed that Paragon will withdraw its appeal of the P&G judgement and P&G will withdraw its contempt motion in Delaware.

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In related news, Paragon has accepted a previously announced commitment from Wellspring Capital Management LLC, New York, NY, to acquire Paragon as part of a reorganization plan. The commitment provides for a $100 million investment in Paragon by Wellspring in return for 84.1% of the new common stock of the reorganized company. According to the agreement terms, Paragon will retain its current senior management. Both companies expected approval from the Bankruptcy Court by the end of November and confirmation of the plan was anticipated by this month.

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In other news, Paragon discontinued the manufacture of disposable diapers at its Brampton, Ontario, Canada factory. According to company officials, Paragon will service Canadian customers from its Harmony, PA facility. The company, which attributes the shutdown to a lack of economic scale and the facility’s logistic disadvantage, describes the move as part of ongoing efforts to improve efficiency and reduce costs in its North American disposable diaper business. The plant, which employed 113 people, will operate as a warehouse and distribution center for Canadian customers.

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Procter & Gamble
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This was a year of change for Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH. As part of a new strategy to streamline management, boost sales growth and accelerate new product development, P&G unveiled its “Organization 2005” plan, which focuses on research and development rather than geographical expansion. The plan, which will result in plant closures and job cuts, represents the first significant restructuring since 1993 when the company closed 30 plants and eliminated 13,000 positions worldwide. Spearheaded by Durk Jager, P&G’s chief executive officer since last January, the move is expected to help the company meet what it calls “intense competition” in U.S. and overseas markets.

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As part of the $1.9 billion global restructuring program that took effect July 1, P&G will eliminate 15,000 jobs worldwide over six years—approximately 13% of its workforce—and close 10 plants. Approximately 10,000 of the job cuts are expected to occur through fiscal 2001, with the remainder taking place in the following years. According to P&G, while some workers will be laid off, maximum use will be made of retirements, relocations, voluntary departures and reductions in hiring. From a geographic perspective, 42% of the workforce reduction will occur in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 29% in North America, 16% in Latin America and 13% in Asia. The restructuring will also involve the transition from four business units based on geographic regions to seven global business units based on product lines. In addition to increasing production line standardization and aligning manufacturing capacity with new global business units, the company will also establish new market development organizations to tailor sales programs for local markets. In an effort to facilitate the company’s product development cycle, specific product segments will be established such as feminine hygiene and other personal care divisions.

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In other news, P&G has imprinted a “Back To Sleep” (baby sleeping on its back) logo across the diaper-fastening strips of its newborn “Pampers” diapers as part of a campaign led by Tipper Gore against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The logo and a toll-free number are now featured on the newborn diaper package. According to P&G, the logo is designed to remind consumers that placing a baby to sleep on its back greatly reduces the risk of SIDS, the unexplained death of an infant one to 12 months old.

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In another change to its “Pampers” line, P&G launched “Pampers Rash Guard.” The new diaper—which is now available nationally in stores—is designed to promote healthy skin through the treatment and prevention of diaper rash. The diaper’s formulation, which includes a hypoallergenic skin protectant that transfers lotion to the wearer’s skin, was patented by P&G last year. The protectant is applied to the topsheet and leg cuff areas, is continuously transferred to the skin with each diaper change and is activated by body heat and movement. According to P&G, approximately two thirds of all babies experience some form of diaper rash on a monthly basis and one third of all parents consider their infants to be frequent rash sufferers. Concurrent with the introduction of Pampers Rash Guard baby diapers, P&G launched reformulated “Pampers Rash Care” wipes, which are also designed to treat and prevent diaper rash.

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To promote the new Rash Guard line, P&G launched an educational winter-season marketing campaign last month to make parents aware that the winter cold and flu season is also diaper rash season. The campaign, which pushes P&G’s Pampers Rash Guard brand disposable baby diapers, is centered around the theme, “Pamper The Winter Skin They’re In” and features television, print and radio spots that empower moms to “Be On Guard” for diaper rash during the winter season. Pampers will also offer consumers a free copy of the company’s “ParentPages: Guide to Baby Skin Care” brochure for more information on diaper rash. Consumers can also call the toll-free Pampers Rash Guard hotline at 877-RASHGUARD or visit the company’s website at www.pampers.com.

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In other news, the company resolved its baby diaper patent dispute with Japanese manufacturer Kao Corporation, Tokyo. According to terms of the agreement, Kao will make a series of payments to P&G to correct an imbalance between the value of patent rights held by the companies. The deal also provides for mutual use of certain patent rights, which will allow for cross-licensing of some disposable diaper products. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed. In addition to its involvement in the Japanese absorbent product market, Kao Corporation is the owner of lotion manufacturer Andrew Jergens, Cincinnati, OH.

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Lastly, P&G has moved its product planning and development center from the U.S. to its P&G Far East Division in Japan. The move is reportedly a result of severe competition in the Japanese market for sanitary products and heightened quality requirements from consumers.

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rnRMED
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In October disposable baby diaper and wipes manufacturer RMed International, Westport, CT—maker of “Tushies,” “TenderCare,” “Bumpies” and “Rock-A-Bye” as well as private label products—received a more than $12 million order to produce private label disposable baby diapers. The order represents the company’s largest single private label order, with shipping to begin out of its Wisconsin facility in the fourth quarter. According to the company, the business enhances its developing strategy to be a major force in the private label diaper business.
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 Sano Bruno’s Enterprises
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For Israeli baby diaper manufacturer San Bruno’s Enterprises, Hod-Hasharon, Israel, 15-17% of the local marketshare and a capacity of 7.5 billion pieces per month has helped the company make its mark in the diaper market. To continue this growth trend, the company plans to introduce a new feature to its existing diaper-related products.

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SCA
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The Hygiene Products business of SCA, Stockholm, Sweden, signed a cooperative agreement in 1999 with Italian machinery manufacturer GDM SpA, Offanengo. The agreement covers the development of machinery for SCA’s line of absorbent hygiene products. In accordance with the agreement, GDM will take over SCA’s Norwegian unit for the manufacture of machinery in the hygiene product segment, involving about 100 employees. SCA will release resources for its own hygiene product operations and instead work closely with GDM in machinery development. According to the company, there will be no personnel reductions in the Norwegian operations.

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Target
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Making its debut in the diaper sector is retail chain Target Stores, Minneapolis, MN, which has introduced “Target Show-Offs.” The new line of diapers are decorated with colors and designs and are bundled in a black and transparent printed package, which allows shoppers to view the multi-colored diapers. Show-Offs are available in four sizes, with sizes two and three available in a soft color palette and sizes four and five decorated in bright colors. The diaper, which according to Target offers superior leakage protection with compact absorbent materials and a breathable back panel, comes in packages with a retail price of $4.99.

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rnUni-Charm
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Japanese baby diaper manufacturer Uni-Charm, Tokyo, established a joint venture company in Korea. Part of efforts by Uni-Charm to augment its marketshare in the Far East, the new entity will produce and sell nonwoven absorbent products in the Korean region. Uni-Charm also operates plants in Taiwan, Thailand and China.