International Top Companies Report 2012

By Karen Bitz-McIntyre, Editor | September 12, 2012

An annual review of the leading nonwovens producers.

The Movers and the Shakers

There’s been quite a bit of movement in this year’s top company report, brought on largely by mergers, acquisitions and divestments. Fitesa reappeared on the top company list at number six thanks to its purchase of Fiberweb’s hygiene-related assets, which propelled its sales to about $670 million. Fiberweb, meanwhile dropped from number six to nine. Additionally, Ahlstrom’s sale of its wipes business to Suominen impacted both of those companies’ positions. Lastly, this year Danish company Fibertex appears in the rankings twice because last year parent Schow & Co. split it into two companies—Fibertex Personal Care and Fibertex Nonwovens, which appear at numbers 18 and 35, respectively, compared to last year’s 17.

Another influence to movement, something we will continue to see in the next couple of years, is investment. As we reported last year, there has been an unprecedented amount of new capacity announcements in the global spunmelt market with massive new lines coming in across the globe. Already, these investments have helped drive sales at companies like Avgol, Companhia Providencia, PGI, Toray Advanced Materials and Fibertex, and this trend will continue as several companies are still waiting for construction to be complete on new lines.

This year we welcome a couple of new companies to the Top Companies report, which show not only the growth of the nonwovens industry but also its expansion into new markets. Nan Liu Enterprise, based in Taiwan, debuts at number 38, thanks to an impressive investment philosophy, including a 6.2-meter-wide spunlace line that is set to come on-stream in China next year. Also new this year is the Hassan Group, the first Turkish company to crack the report. Of course, it most likely won’t be long before another Turkish producer is included. For a list of contenders, see managing editor Sean Moloughney’s report on Turkish nonwoven producers here.

As has been the case since Nonwovens Industry started ranking producers, Freudenberg Nonwovens was the world’s largest producer of nonwovens this year. This position continues to be challenged, however, as many of the company’s fellow producers in the top five—including DuPont and PGI—continue to invest for future growth.

The Top Companies profiled in this issue are ranked in terms of their 2011 nonwovens sales (in U.S. dollars). Sales figures are taken from a variety of sources—public documents, company statements, industry estimates—and are only intended to be a guide. The real value of this report is the company profiles, which are taken from interviews with key nonwovens industry executives and provide relevant information about the largest players in the industry. Nonwovens Industry strives to make this report as comprehensive as possible. If you know of a company you think should be included in this ranking next year, please contact us at nonwovens@rodpub.com. As always, we appreciate your comments.

2011 Nonwovens Sales

Click on the Company Name below to view the complete profile.

1   Freudenberg $1.48 billion
2   Dupont $1.35 billion
3   Kimberly-Clark $1.25 billion
4   Polymer Group, Inc. (PGI) $1.20 billion
5   Ahlstrom $1.06 billion
6   Johns Manville $670 million
6   Fitesa $670 million
8   Glatfelter $538 million
9   Fiberweb $465 million
10 Avgol $329 million
11 Sandler AG $311 million
12 Hollingsworth & Vose (H&V) $300 million
13 Japan Vilene $263 million
14 Companhia Providencia $260 million
15 First Quality Nonwovens $250 million
16 Asahi Kasei  $246 million
17 Buckeye Technologies $239 million
18 Fibertex Personal Care A/S $229 million
19 Toray Advanced Materials $224 million
20 Mitsui Chemicals $219 million
21 Colbond $210 million
22 Pegas Nonwovens $203 million
23 Jacob Holm Industries $192 million
24 Union Industries $184 million
25 Toyobo $164 million
26 Vita Nonwovens $159 million
27 Georgia-Pacific  $152 million
28 Andrew Industries $150 million
28 Textilgruppe Hof $150 million
30 Propex Holdings $140 million
31 Lydall $134 million
32 Precision Custom Coatings $132 million
33 Suominen Nonwovens  $131 million
34 Hassan Group  $128 million
35 Fibertex Nonwovens A/S $126 million
36 Unitika $122 million
37 The Jofo Group  $120 million
38 Nan Liu Enterprise $118 million
39 Spuntech $113 million
40 Kuraray $112 million
41 KNH $100 million
42 Dounor Nonwovens $92 million

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