2012 Nonwovens Sales: $235 million
Key Personnel: Mikael Staal Axelsen, group CEO; Mette Due Sogaard, CTO, Denmark; Anders Sogaard, 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
Expansion in Asia continues to be a focus for Fibertex Personal Care. Not only is the Aalborg, Denmark company increasing its Malaysian capacity by 30%, it has established sales offices in India and Japan to strengthen its presence in these markets. With production sites in Malaysia and Denmark, the company, which split from its technical business in early 2011 to become a company solely focused on hygiene, sells its products all over the world with a main emphasis on Europe and Asia.
A major maker of spunmelt nonwovens primarily for hygiene applications, Fibertex Personal Care operates six production lines, three in Denmark and three in Malaysia. In sync with its production footprint, Fibertex Personal Care reports that the bulk of its sales are to major international producers of diapers and other hygiene products located in Europe and Asia.
In spring 2012, the company announced it would add a fourth line in Malaysia, increasing that site’s capacity by 30% to 70,000 tons by the end of 2013. This $50 million investment comes not long after the completion of a third line, which added 22,000 tons of capacity to the site.
“We have been experiencing great growth in Asia, that is for sure,” says group CEO Mikael Staal Axelsen. “It’s not just in Malaysia. We are seeing success in Japan, Australia, India, the whole region.”
Fibertex Personal Care began production in Malaysia in 2003 and soon added line number two in 2005. These investments have been credited with driving the company’s sales forward in recent years. To date, the company has no plans to add a production facility elsewhere in Asia, saying it is successful enough targeting the entire region for the Malaysian site.
“We have no plan to build elsewhere in Asia,” Axelsen says. “Of course, there is a new line coming in India from Global Nonwovens and everyone is looking there but China is crowded with companies and that is why we are not there.”
Overall, Fibertex Personal Care’s sales increased 11% to reach DKK1.459 billion ($254 million) in 2012 and growth was largely attributed to the full utilization of the third Malaysian line. The company expects sales to continue this upward trajectory in 2013 and receive a significant boost once line number four in Malaysia comes onstream in late 2013, boosting that site’s capacity by 30%.
Fibertex Personal Care began making spunmelt nonwovens in 1997 when it was still known simply as Fibertex and also contained an industrial-centered division. In 2010, Fibertex separated its hygiene-related assets from its industrial side, creating two distinct companies, Fibertex Personal Care and Fibertex Nonwovens. Both companies continue to be owned by Schouw & Co.
Since entering the spunmelt market, Fibertex has attributed its impressive level of growth to maintaining strong professional relationships with its customers and this strategy has resulted in a number of awards and distinctions from key customers. The most recent of these were a Supplier of the Year award from Ontex, the Belgium private label hygiene products maker, which was awarded in June, and the Procter & Gamble External Business Partner award in September 2012.
Looking ahead, Fibertex will continue to focus on maintaining earnings by optimizing production lines, maintaining high operational efficiency and ensuring high capacity utilization.
“The focus will be on growing our sales to sell the new capacity in Malaysia,” Axelsen says. “For sure, we will continue to grow.”