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K-C Bets On Its Wipes Business

March 10, 2016

Major expansion underway in developing areas

Kimberly-Clark has made a major expansion to its baby wipes business, executives have revealed. The maker of Huggies baby wipes is adding new lines in Korea, Colombia, Brazil and Singapore in a move that represents the company’s first major expansion in about 10 years. The investment matches the expansion of the Huggies and Pull Ups brands worldwide. The news was reported at the Society of Plastics Engineers Polyolefins Conference held in Houston, TX last month.
The investments mainly center around Coform, K-C’s proprietary technology that largely serves its wipes business. Coform is a direct formed, thermal bonded airlaid technology which was originally developed in the 1970s. K-C’s new lines feature the same common forming technology as existing Coform lines around the world but offer a lower tonnage to adapt to the needs of emerging markets.
K-C’s internal testing has proven that Coform cleans the best of most other nonwovens substrates, particularly compared to spunlace, says a source. This is because of the technology’s low pulp component, which allows the wipe to clean the skin surface with minimal or no abrasion.
K-C’s success in the wipes market is being driven by advances in Huggies diapers in emerging markets and by the increased use of baby diapers throughout the world. In early 2013, K-C exited the Western European diaper market as part of a strategy to focus on more growing markets like Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. The company continues to sell its baby wipe products throughout Europe.

In January, K-C made a move to expand its wipes business outside of baby care with the launch of its Kleenex Facial Care line. This new line includes dual-sided exfoliating cushions that smooth and polish the skin, moist facial cleaning cotton pads, moist eye makeup removers and shine away sheets, which feature double-sided fabric technology that lifts and traps oil without smudging makeup.

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