Sales Reports

Textilgruppe Hof

January 1, 2004

Location: Hof/Saale, Germany

Sales: $81 Million

Description: Eswegee Vliesstoffe GmbH
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Fabrikzeile 21, 95208 Hof/Saale Germany
Tel: 49-9281-490

Techtex GmbH Vliesstoffe
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Mittweida, Germany
Tel: 49-3727-9530

Hof Textiles, Inc.
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Tel: 704-732-3525

Key Personnel
Manfred Knieling, managing director; Rudolf Scholtter, managing director; Detlev Käppel, managing director—Techtex, sales director, technical nonwovens; Gunther Hoffman, president—Hof Textiles, inc.

Hof/Saale, Germany, Mittweida, Germany, Lincolnton, NC

ISO Status
ISO 9001, ISO 14001, VDA 6.1

Drylaid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, saturate bonded, stitchbonded

Brand Names
Variopoint, Unipoint, Unisoft, Zetafelt, Zetastitch, Zetafil, Zetawatt, Florbond, Zetabond, Zetatherm, Maliwatt, Malivlies, Kunit, Multiknit eswegee 2000 series

Major Markets
Interlinings, automotives, filtration, coating substrates, noise reduction barriers, secondary carpet backings, electrical insulation, foam replacement for car interiors

Consolidated nonwovens sales in 2003 within the eswegee group, a division of Textilgruppe Hof, were $81 million, compared with $71 million last year. This rise was attributed partially to more favorable currency rates but also to gains in Hof’s industrial business. More than half, 57%, of sales were exported, showing a continued climb in the company’s export business.
Hof’s nonwovens business is split between interlinings, comprising 42% of total sales, and industrial, representing 58% of sales. The interlining business reported another difficult year because of weaker consumer demand, weak economies and a fashion climate demanding fewer nonwovens in interlinings. This led to some of its customers declaring bankruptcy. The company responded by strengthening and reorganizing its sales force and cost structure to adjust to current market conditions. Much of these problems are conducive to eswegee’s domestic business and the picture is much brighter for exports. Executives pointed to continued efforts to widen the company’s sales network geographically and claimed potential for future growth, particularly in Eastern Europe.
Problems in interlinings have not stopped eswegee from developing new products. These include “SP2C” and “EASY CARE,” two lightweight and soft interlinings with special coatings to enhance performance in fashion fabrics as well as a 100% PES-based needlefelt product line developed to fill a need for heavier interlinings, according to managing director Manfred Kneiling.
“According to our view, the global nonwovens industry will remain very interesting with growth potential left for specific products rather than ‘me too,’” he added. “Our goal is to provide our customers the best ‘total cost solution.’”
On the industrial side, sales have been on the rise and are expected to continue for the time being. Eswegee’s main market for industrial nonwovens is the automotive industry, where products are used for acoustical applications such as hoodliners, dash liners, headliners, package trays and boot applications. Recent developments include a new generation of moldable nonwovens used in trunk applications and wheel arch covers in cars. These offer a unique surface structure, less weight, good acoustics and cost competitiveness over existing products, as well as nonwovens with high temperature-resistant coatings and acoustic performance for automotives.
Hof’s services to the automotives business are being expanded by an ambitious, $15 million capital investment program. The plan, which will also impact the interlining portion of the business, targets all three Hof sites, in Hof/Saale and Mittweida, Germany and Lincolnton, NC. Already two lines have been added to the operation with another set to come onstream this year, according to executives.
“The investments are planned to help both segments, interlining and industrial, enhance quality, lower cost and give us the chance to grow into new areas with new products,” said Detlev Käppel, sales director of technical nonwovens.
Beyond automotives, Hof’s industrial business includes products targeting filtration, where the company is developing new composite products, and carpet backings. These markets are also benefiting from new pressure-sensitive tapes products at Hof’s stitchbonded plant Techtex GmbH Vliesstoffe in Mittweida, Germany.

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