Location: BASEL, SWITZERLAND
Sales: $172 Million
Description: Key Personnel
Poul Mikkelsen, chairman; Finn Schoning, group controller; operations USA; Alain Héberlé, director of marketing and Porcher, global commercial account director; Ginny Casstevens, Sediri, marketing
Asheville, NC; Soultz, France.
Lidro, Rough N Soft, TAU
Personal Care, Home Care, industrial applications
Growth in the wipes market as well as that market’s continued conversion to spunlaced nonwovens has allowed Jacob Holm to continue its pattern of sales growth. The Swiss manufacturer of spunlaced nonwovens reported sales grew 7.5% to $172 million last year after growing from $104 million the year before.
“We see moderate growth in wipes plus significant growth in spunlace applications for wipes in North America, and we are seeing significant growth for the wipes market in general as well as more conversion from airlaid in Eastern Europe,” explained CEO Stephen Landon.
With bragging rights on the world’s largest spunlace line, located in Asheville, NC, Jacob Holm reported that about $78 million of these sales were conducted in the U.S. The company is poised to expand its presence in North America thanks to new contracts in Mexico as well as a deal in the feminine hygiene market in Canada.
About $94 million in sales is done in Europe, where Jacob Holm has a sizeable spunlace business in Soultz, France. This busines is not growing as quickly because the wipes business of Western Europe as its conversion to spunlace is already complete. Instead, Jacob Holm is betting on growth in Eastern Europe where wipes are growing quickly as is spunlaced nonwovens’ penetration into existing wipes markets.
Currently, about 80% of Jacob Holms European sales are related to wipes, a percentage the company is okay with. However, Mr. Landon said he would like to see this part of the business more diversified into more valued added wipe areas, which is the case already in North America where wipes represent 70% of sales.
Jacob Holm’s five-meter-wide U.S. spunlace line, added in 2006, is capable of making nonwovens with a range of raw material and in varying different basis weights, mostly for the premium wipes market. In fact, it is this line’s success in attracting long-term, high volume premium businesses that has contributed to Jacob Holm’s impressive growth during the past two years. “High volumes don’t necessarily mean low technology, but we do want to run our machines for long campaign times. We want a balanced mix of customers and products,” Mr. Landon said.
“The next step in the U.S. will be a second line, to be approved probably later this year or early next year and operational in 2011. We are thinking it will be a complementary line to the first line,” he said. “The emphasis will be on quicker changeovers and shorter run times.”
After that will come a third line—probably five years from now— offering complementary technology to spunlace, Mr. Landon continued adding there are still many segments of the wipes market still open to Jacob Holm. “Household wipes has not even been fully explored by Jacob Holm in the U.S.,” he said.