Sales: $62 MILLION
Description: Plant Locations
Gumi, Kyungsang-Bukdo, South Korea
Y.K. Lee/President and CEO, Y.K. Kim, senior vice president; Shigeto Fukuda, senior vice president
Spunbond PP, PET
Jesbon (PP), Techbon (PET), Airbon (protective apparel)
Hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filter, PP/PE bicomponent, geotextile
New to this year’s report is Toray Saehan, Inc. (TSI), a joint venture founded in December 1999 by Japan’s Toray Industries and Korea’s Saehan Industries. The company manufactures spunbond nonwoven fabrics as well as polyester films, polyester chips, filaments and information/technology-related products. Of the company’s $453 million 2003 sales, $62 million involved nonwovens.
TSI currently operates six spunbond lines in Korea. Five of these are polypropylene-based while one is polyester. The company’s total capacity is 54,000 tons and its technology includes SMS, SSMMS, bicomponent layers and multilayered material for lighter weight nonwovens. With exports accounting for 52% of sales, major markets beyond Korea include Japan, Taiwan and China, where its strength is largely in hygiene. TSI has a 40% share of Korea’s hygiene market and 15% of Japan’s.
“As the Japanese hygiene market requires quality-oriented products, TSI has put a lot of effort into quality control,” said company spokesman H.B. Lee. “This means that the company’s quality can be widely accepted by major Asian hygiene markets. TSI is committed to constant quality control, which has allowed it to be one of Asia’s most quickly growing company with flexible research and development and aggressive marketing forces.”
While its parent company, Toray Industries operates a 4000-ton-per-year spunbond line in Japan, to date, TSI does not have a facility outside of Korea. This could change. In May 2004, it announced it had launched a feasibility study related to starting a new line near Shanghai in 2006. “China has market penetration ratios of around 4% in baby diapers and 55% in sanitary napkins,” Mr. Lee explained. “China clearly has a big potential for growth in disposable markets.”
Beyond China, TSI is constantly examining Asia’s developing countries and their potential for growth in the hygiene areas. Involved in this plan is the recent introduction of bicomponent items for hygiene markets as well as widening product ranges in the medical area. “As Asia’s consumption of disposable products is low in comparison with developed countries, this means we can grow faster than in other areas,” Mr. Lee said.