Location: Manchester, U.K.
Sales: $190 million
Description: Key Personnel
Joe Menendez, Vita Group CEO
Wim Warnier, Vita Nonwovens CEO
Belgium, France, Sweden, U.S.
ISO 9001:2000; ISO / TS 16949
Drylaid, chemical bonded, drylaid thermal bonded, needlefelt, through air bonded, impregnation
Sales increased from $160 million to $190 million in 2007 for Vita Nonwovens, Manchester, U.K., mainly driven by the dynamic U.S. market in the bedding industry and by continued sales development in healthcare, automotives and filtration.
According to executives, the group’s bedding and furniture business was impacted by a slowdown in Western Europe caused by customer migration to Central Europe but this situation is stabilizing. The capacity freed up by this trend is now being used for new product developments in acoustic applications for building and automotive applications.
Two years ago, Vita Nonwovens closed its U.K. subsidiaries but it continues to operate plants in Belgium, France, Sweden and the U.S. Vita Nonwovens targets a number of markets with its proprietary technology. Its largest nonwovens division, Libeltex—with operations in Belgium, France and Sweden—continues to grow, driven by healthcare and the industrial specialties markets.
Vita Nonwovens has launched a retention strategy for nonwovens, which includes investing in both the people and production capabilities to ensure the company maintains its position at the forefront of European nonwovens technology. Earlier this year, investments were made in the healthcare division, where a new production line set-up allows the company to provide breakthrough innovative products for the hygiene industry. Vita Nonwovens’ European business, Libeltex, operates four plants, one in Belgium, two in France and one in Sweden.
Meanwhile, the group’s U.S. subsidiary Vita Nonwovens has continued a turnaround phase allowing it to end the temporary closure of its Fort Wayne, IN site. In the course of 2008, additional production capacity will be installed to cope with increased demand in such markets as high quality technical waddings for the automotive and filtration markets in the U.S. Vita Nonwovens operates three plants in the U.S.: High Point, NC, San Antonio, TX and Fort Wayne, IN. All sites contain proprietary drylaid technology and have allowed Vita Nonwovens to be closer to its North American customers.
Moving forward, Vita Nonwovens sees hygiene, automotive, filtration and other technical industrial applications as the clear focus for growth. The company is also carefully considering the development of new products and services to meet the future needs of its customers, which may include looking at new market sectors and new geographies.
Since 2005, The Vita Group has been transformed from a public company to a private company. According to executives, this change in ownership brought with it a vision that included the goal of becoming a more efficient and preferred supplier in the field of specialty nonwovens.
“We are exploiting the available technology with breakthrough products for acoustical and thermal insulation,” said CEO Wim Warnier. “And we are studying the expansion into new geographical markets, where we believe that demand for highloft nonwovens is growing. The role of nonwovens in our focus markets has not reached the end of its potential. The year-on-year industry growth rates confirm this explicitly. As an innovative supplier with sound customer focus and in-depth understanding of the advantages of nonwovens, such as weight, versatility, economical and environmental friendliness, it’s our goal to offer the right solutions to an ever-more demanding market environment.”