2011 Nonwovens Sales: $229 million
Key Personnel: Mikael Staal Axelsen, group CEO; Mette Due Søgaard, CTO, Denmark; Anders Søgaard, COO, Denmark; Kenneth Mynster Dolmer, CCO, Denmark; Claus Svanberg, CFO, Denmark; Peter Andersen, CEO, Malaysia; Peter Bach Sigvardt, COO, Malaysia; Ong Soo Fen, CFO, Malaysia
Plants: Three lines in Denmark, three in Malaysia
Brands: Comfort, Elite, Dual
Major Markets: Hygiene—applications within baby diapers, feminine care and adult incontinence
In 2011, Fibertex Personal Care began operating independently from Fibertex Nonwovens, which also made the Top Company ranking this year at number 35 (see page 88). With facilities in Denmark and Malaysia, Fibertex Personal Care continues to make strategic investments, priming its operations for future growth.
Recognizing great potential in the developing Asia-Pacific region, the company has been expanding capacity in Malyasia, installing a third line in November of 2011, which will add about 22,000 tons of capacity per year. Mikael Staal Axelsen, group CEO, says he expects the line will be running at full capacity by the end of 2012.
The company also announced a $55 million investment in a fourth state-of-the-art production line in Malaysia that will increase total capacity by 30%, to 70,000 tons per year, over the next two years.
The Malaysia division performed very well in 2011, according to the 2011 annual report from parent company Schow & Co. Capacity utilization was high and production efficiency was satisfactory throughout the year. The challenge moving forward will be to utilize the greater production capacity while manufacturing products of high and uniform quality on a consistent basis.
Overall, Fibertex Personal Care’s revenue increased from DKK 1.24 billion in 2010 to DKK 1.31 billion in 2011, driven by higher selling prices that were triggered by higher raw materials costs, the company says. However, earnings fell, due in part to weaker sales in Europe in the first half of the year.
Volumes declined during the year due in part to “changing buying patters of certain major customers, and certain Middle East markets were affected by political unrest in the region, causing a drop in sales,” the annual report states.
While the company sees limited growth opportunities and strong price pressures in Europe, Asia represents solid opportunities for organic expansion in the coming years. “There is a clear overcapacity of spunmelt right now,” Axelsen says of Europe. However, the company continues to develop value-added products at its Denmark facilities.
“We are looking to make our products more attractive in the market but in principle it’s also important to cope with this overcapacity,” notes Axelsen.
In its annual report, the company says it expects to generate revenue of about DKK 1.5-1.6 billion in 2012, pending changes in raw material costs, which have since stabilized.
As for company achievements to note, Fibertex Personal Care received a Business Partner Excellence Award from Procter & Gamble in 2011, which is given to top suppliers. This was the company’s third such award. Axlesen says the recognition represents the company’s commitment to high quality and service. “This is where we see our key strengths,” he adds.
In April 2012, P&G also issued its environmental sustainability scorecard, which is designed to rate suppliers on key sustainability metrics across their supply chains. Fibertex Personal Care was among 17 companies that received the highest possible score.
This latest recognition from P&G exemplifies the company’s focus on the environment. Fibertex Personal Care has made a significant effort to reduce its energy consumption and to change its processes in order to convert its heating source from electricity to natural gas.
The company’s focus on energy consumption and cost savings has reduced carbon emissions per kilo of finished goods by about 20% over the past 10 years. The company is planning additional energy-saving projects for 2012 at factories in Denmark and Malaysia.
Additionally, as much as 95% of waste from production is reused, and the rest is incinerated for energy recovery purposes. The company intends to continue mapping its environmental footprint, applying lifecycle analysis and other tools to reduce its impact further.
In other company dealings, Fibertex Personal Care’s joint venture (15% ownership) in Germany, Innowo, recently installed a second production line. The nonwoven printing company offers highly specialized, value-added prints that can be applied directly onto nonwovens in various applications via highly advanced technologies, says Axelsen.