Top Companies Report

International Top Companies Report 2011

September 17, 2011

Expansion. Expansion. Expansion.

The big news in this year’s top company report, without a doubt, is expansion. With easily more than half of this year’s 40 largest nonwovens maker announcing expansion plans, the next couple of years in nonwovens should be interesting—to say the least.

The question on everyone’s minds is where all of this capacity will be targeted in the next couple of years as hundreds of thousands of nonwovens come onstream globally. Particularly in the spunmelt line where dozens of new lines—many of which by the top companies—are being installed, overcapacity is certainly a concern. However, many companies are bullish about nonwovens growth moving forward, saying that these investments are justified as they respond to hygiene growth in emerging markets as well as the need for thinner, more sophisticated products in the developed areas.

That said, this tremendous rate of investment—where some companies are adding as many as 60,000 tons to their current output—will certainly skew the rankings of our annual top company report as new lines come onstream in the next couple of years. I think we will see some rapid advancement up the charts.

Speaking of positions, this year will be the last year that Fibertex, ranked no. 17 this year, will appear in its current state. In January, its parent company split Fibertex in half, separating its hygiene business from its technical business. Next year, expect to see both companies—Fibertex Personal Care and Fibertex Nonwovens—listed separately in the Top Companies report. Another company likely to decrease its position is this year’s no. 3 player, Ahlstrom, which sold its wipes business—representing $420 million (€291 million) in sales—to Suominen. Likewise, Suominen, no. 40 this year, will receive a nice boost moving forward.

As has been the case since Nonwovens Industry started ranking nonwovens producers, Freudenberg Nonwovens was the world’s largest producer of nonwovens this year, despite facing some challenges. This position continues to be challenged, however, as many of the company’s fellow producers in the top five continue to invest for future growth.

The 40 companies profiled in this issue are ranked in terms of their 2010 nonwovens sales (in U.S. dollars). Sales figures are taken from a variety of sources, public documents, company statements, industry estimates and are only intended to be a guide. The real value of this report is the company profiles, which are taken from interviews with key nonwovens industry executives and provide key information about the largest players in the nonwovens industry. Nonwovens Industry strives to make this report as comprehensive as possible. If you know of a company you think should be included in this ranking next year, please contact us at As always, we appreciate your comments.

The Top 40 Companies
Click on the Company Name below to view the complete profile.

1 Freudenberg $1.5 billion
2 Dupont $1.4 billion
3 Ahlstrom $1.35 billion
4 Kimberly Clark $1.2 billion
5 PGI $1.15 billion
6 Fiberweb $850 million
7 Johns Manville $670 million
8 Glatfelter $350 million
9 Companhia Providencia $326 million
10 Sandler $288 million
11 Avgol $277.5 million
12 Hollingsworth & Vose $275 million
13 Japan Vilene $266 million
14 Buckeye $265 million
15 TWE $260 million
16 First Quality $250 million
17 Fibertex $235 million
17 Asahi Kasei $235 million
19 Mitsui $203 million
20 Pegas $196 million
21 Colbond $190 million
22 Toray Advance Materials $180 million
23 Toyobo $174 million
24 Propex $165 million
24 Jacob Holm $165 million
26 Vita Nonwovens $158 million
27 Georgia-Pacific $152 million
28 Andrew $140 million
29 Union $135 million
29 Hof $135 million
31 PCC $125 million
31 Unitika $125 million
33 Lydall $123 million
34 Jofo $118 million
35 Kuraray $117 million
36 Spuntech $112 million
37 Foss Manufacturing $90 million
37 KNH $90 million
39 Rexcell $80 million
40 Suominen $77 million

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