2012 Nonwovens Sales: $379 million
Key Personnel: Orwig Speltdoorn, managing director EMEA; Bart Austin, managing director NAFTA; Gareth Kaminski-Cook, managing director APAC; Marc Krauth, global business director, Interior & Transportation; Clark Halladay, Global Business Director Building & Industry; Orwig Speltdoorn, Global Business Director Civil Engineering; Wayne Currie, Group HSE Director.
Plants: Belgium (Lokeren and Zele); Germany (Gross Ippener and Obernburg); Hungary (Tiszaújváros); the Netherlands (Arnhem and Emmen); USA (Asheville NC); joint ventures in China (Jiangsu) and Saudi Arabia (Yanbu).
Processes: Extruded, spunbond, thermal bonded and specialties, needlepunched staplefiber, woven, 3-dimensional polymeric mats
Brands: Adfil; Bontec; BonarAgro, Colback; Enka Solutions (a.o. Enkamat, Enkadrain, Enkagrid, Enka-Spacer, Enka-Channel, EnkaRetain & Drain); Tipptex; Xeroflor.
Major Markets: Agro; Building; Civil Engineering; Construction; Flooring; Filtration; Industry; Interior; Roofing; Transportation.
During 2012 Low & Bonar, a multinational group of producers and suppliers of performance technical textiles operating worldwide merged its two major businesses within its Performance Technical Textiles division: Colbond and Bonar Technical Fabrics.
In January 2013, the merged business was rebranded ‘Bonar’. Bonar’s goal is to leverage its successful European business and expertise in other regions and this organizational change is designed to accelerate this development and put it on a clear path to globalization.
During the year the division increased its capabilities, particularly in sales and marketing, and the company says this will also be a feature of the coming year as it invests in resources to build a more effective, globally present business.
Bonar serves the agro, building, civil engineering, construction, flooring, filtration, interior, industrial, roofing and transportation sectors through five companies: Bonar, with operations in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S.; Bonar Geosynthetics in Hungary; Bonar Xerofl or in Germany; Yihua Bonar in China; and Bonar Natpet in Saudi Arabia.
The company’s production facilities are based in Belgium, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, UK, U.S. and through joint ventures in China and Saudi Arabia.
Total turnover of Bonar in 2012 was $379 million. Results were in line with the company’s expectations and growth was achieved in all segments.
Underlying sales to the building products, flooring and industrial sectors, which together represent more than 50% of sales, all grew strongly. Building products advanced 15%, including a maiden contribution from the Xerofl or acquisition, which contributed approximately half of this improvement. Growth in the U.S. was reported strong, supported by a modest recovery in the residential housing market and new product introductions, while sales in Europe were mixed.
Bonar reported that a strong performance in niche sectors, notably green roofing, more than offset a softening in demand for more traditional commercial building roofing products. The flooring sector had another good year, advancing 8%. Sales in the U.S. and Asia grew strongly with European sales stable. The company says sales also continue to benefit from the increasing preference for tiles in commercial flooring installations, with the business also enjoying some success in penetrating new application areas of the flooring market. Sales in the industrial sector improved by 9%, with agrotextile applications the strongest performers. New products were launched in both the screens and groundcover niches and the initiative to build sales outside of the dominant Dutch market was successful.
The civil engineering sector had a mixed year. Underlying sales were at the same level as a strong 2011, which delivered 20% growth. Sales of geotextiles and construction fiber products grew well; however, a reduction in tunneling projects adversely impacted sales of other geosynthetic products. Sales improved markedly from a small base in the U.S. and the company says it is reviewing options to be a more significant player in this region. The European market was tougher, particularly in the second half of the year when demand softened in some construction sectors.
The commissioning, in the coming year, of our geotextile joint venture plant in Saudi Arabia will be a catalyst for accelerating growth in this attractive region. Transportation sales were below target. The recovery in the US market was largely in low- to-midend platforms where our products are not specified and, in Europe, sales suffered from some destocking and premium brand platform transitions.
Bonar seeks to accelerate its expansion into markets, which have the opportunity to grow faster than the global average and build a global business. Geographically these include Asia, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and South America, where industrialization, urbanization, and high infrastructure expenditure are driving growth.
In 2012 Bonar completed its investment in a joint venture, Bonar Natpet, with National Petrochemical Industrial Company (NATPET) in Saudi Arabia. The joint venture will supply geotextiles to the fast growing Middle East and Indian subcontinent civil engineering markets.
The acquisition of Xerofl or in March 2012 has improved the company’s access to the fast growing green roofing market, complementing the range of products that Bonar sells into that market.
Also in terms of future expansion, Asia Pacific is one of the regions high on Bonar’s radar. It opened a sales office in June in Shanghai as well as a distribution warehouse in July.
On the new product front, the Bonar Research, Development & Innovation (RD&I) team has developed a range of flame retardant screens, under the PhormiTex name, to counter the
risk of greenhouse fi res caused by the increased use of electrical equipment to control heating and lighting in greenhouse horticulture. PhormiTex screens combine the proven qualities of Bonar screens with a certified fire performance under German and European standards.
Colback Profloor, an innovative extension to the Colback range, was launched at the 2012 Domotex international flooring trade show in Hanover. Colback Profloor is based on a new polymer composition that eases the creation of complex tuft constructions, thereby improving the appearance of carpets and giving superior dimensional stability to the finished carpet tiles. The product is the result of a significant RD&I program carried out in cooperation with leading carpet tile producers.