Freudenberg Politex is expanding its Russian business, investing about €20 million in its third production line, which will produce fabrics intended for the manufacture of roofing and asphalt materials.
The launch of the new spunbond line, located in Zavolzhye (Nizhny Novgorod region), is scheduled for September 2012 and will increase production capacity of roofing nonwovens from 11,000 tons to approximately 18,000 metric tons per year.
The company expects the launch of the new line will meet local demand for nonwoven fabrics among Russian companies involved in the manufacture of roofing materials.
The new project will create 20 jobs. According to Russian analysts, the payback period of the project will be 3-4 years.
Freudenberg Politex considers the local Russian and CIS markets to be a promising opportunity and hopes to further its development in the region. Since the start-up of production in 2006 the company has achieved market leadership due to relationships with local manufacturers of bituminous roofing membranes.
In addition to the local Russian market, production from the new line will also be available for export to other countries, if needed.
According to estimates from Russian experts, total production of nonwovens in Russia in 2011 amounted to 1.8 billion square meters of fabric, equivalent to 360,000 metric tons and about 20 billion rubles in value terms ($628 million), which is 16% more than in 2010.
At the same time, domestic production accounts for only about 50-60%. In addition to Freudenberg Politex, other leading Russian nonwovens producers include Avgol Russia, Khimvolokno, Komitex, Sibur-Geotextile, Nomateks, Regent and others, experts say.
According to analysts’ predictions, demand for polyester materials for roofing applications will continue to grow in Russian in the near future, mainly driven by the booming local construction industry.
Today, the Russian market of roofing materials is growing steadily, along with the construction market as a whole, with annual growth rates of 8-10% per year. The production of roofing on polyester-basis is growing about 10% per year.
Freudenberg Politex has been operating in Russia since 2005, after the acquisition of local Zavolzhie factory Crawler Tractors and its modernization. In September 2006, the company launched the first stage of the plant with capacity of 11,000 tons of staple nonwovens fabric per year (with total volume of investments more than $16.6 million). The company launched a second line at the plant, designed for 3000 tons of geotextile products, in June 2010.
All nonwovens manufactured by Freudenberg Politex in Russia are realized with polyester recycled from post-consumer PET bottles. In line with the group’s sustainability strategy, the management team in Zavolzhie is focused on programs for optimization of raw materials consumption and waste reduction.