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International Top 40



a look at the leading nonwovens producers in the world



Published August 30, 2005
Related Searches: spunmelt PGI Top 40 Foss
International Top 40
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a look at the leading nonwovens producers in the world
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You won't get very far reading this year's top company report without hearing about rising raw material prices. Rising petroleum prices have impacted nearly everyone in the nonwovens value chain, from machinery and equipment suppliers to end users, and the world's largest nonwovens producers are no exception. The bulk of nonwoven materials are made from polypropylene or polyester, both petroleum-based raw materials, and their costs have been driven sharply higher in recent months. And, while many nonwovens producers have tried to compensate for these increases with improved efficiencies and even some price increases of their own, rising costs have impacted top line growth for many.

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Despite these troubles, the nonwovens manufacturers profiled in this issue remain optimistic. There are currently no fewer than 15 nonwovens production lines being installed by the 42 companies featured in this issue. And, while a great deal of attention has been paid to growth in developing regions such as Latin America and Asia-Pacific, the greatest number of lines, seven, are being built in the U.S., showing that the North American industry continues to have growth potential.

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Additionally, investments span the industry in terms of technology including glass nonwovens, needlepunched, spunmelt—using both polyester and polypropylene—and spunlaced processes. This range of investment proves that the nonwovens industry is growing in many areas, from consumer to industrial, and throughout the world. I'm sure we will be reporting on where all of this new capacity will penetrate in future editions of Nonwovens Industry.

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The Report By The Numbers

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This year our top companies report profiles 42 companies located throughout the world. Newcomers include construction specialist Owens-Corning, debuting at number 11, and South American spunmelt producer Fitesa, which is ranked number 42. We are always pleased to welcome new nonwovens companies into this annual issue as new additions provide greater scope to our report.

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Dropping out of this year's report were Italian roll goods makers Tenotex, which was purchased by BBA Fiberweb late last year, and Pantex, which split into two companies in 2004.

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Freudenberg continues its uninterrupted run as the world's largest producer of nonwovens, reporting $1.4 billion in sales in 2004 but this position continues to be threatened by sales gains among other large nonwovens producers such as DuPont and Kimberly-Clark, whose sales rose to $1.25 and $1.15 billion, respectively. Also, BBA Fiberweb, reported sales above $1 billion for the first time ever, thanks to two significant acquisitions.

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Each company is ranked on the basis of their 2004 sales, which were translated from local currencies into U.S. dollars using the average exchange rate for 2004, as provided by www.oanda.com. The continued strength of the Euro continued to give Euro-based companies an edge over firms located in other regions, most notably the U.S. Therefore, performance should not be judged solely on sales figures—although ranking companies by sales was necessary due to the nature of this report—but also on key activities reported in each profile. All sales figures were reported by the company, except in certain cases, such as Kimberly-Clark, Foss Manufacturing and Colbond, where they were based on industry estimates.

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Alphabetical Listingrn

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CompanyCompany ranking/last year's ranking
Ahlstrom6/6
Andrew Industries33/36
Asahi Kasei12/13
Avgol25/26
BBA4/4
British Vita14/14
Buckeye9/9
Colbond8/8
Companhia Providencia40/39
Concert Industries27/28
DuPont2/2
Fibertex16/24
Fitesa42/*
Foss Manufacturing18/14
Freudenberg1/1
GeorgiaPacific21/16
Hollingsworth & Vose13/12
Jacob Holm32/31
Japan Vilene10/10
Johns Manville7/7
KimberlyClark3/3
KNH39/41
Kuraray37/37
Lantor41/43
Lohmann17/13
Lydall24/27
Mitsui Chemicals23/21
Orlandi28/28
OwensCorning11/*
Pegas30/35
PGI5/5
Precision Custom Coatings38/39
Propex Fabrics35/33
Polyfelt22/24
Sandler AG15/18
SI26/22
Suominen Nonwovens29/30
Textilgruppe Hof31/32
Toray Saehan36/38
Toyobo19/16
Unitika34/33
Western Nonwovens20/22
*new to this year's survey
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Company 2004 Global Nonwovens Sales
1Freudenberg$1.4 billion
2DuPont$1.25 billion
3Kimberly-Clark$1.15 billion
4BBA Fiberweb$1 billion
5PGI Nonwovens$845 million
 
6Ahlstrom$827 million
7Johns Manville$550 million
8Colbond$265 million
9Buckeye Technologies$226 million
10Japan Vilene$197 million
 
11Owens-Corning$191 million
12Asahi Kasei$176 million
13Hollingsworth & Vose$175 million
14British Vita$170 million
15Sandler$162 million
 
16Fibertex$160 million
17Lohmann$158 million
18Foss Manufacturing$157 million
19Toyobo$145 million
20Western Nonwovens$140 million
 
21Georgia-Pacific$139 million
22Polyfelt$128 million
23Mitsui Chemical$127 million
24Lydall$126 million
25Avgol$123 million
 
26SI Corporation$120 million
27Concert Industries$117 million
28Orlandi$97 million
29Suominen Nonwovens$93.5 million
30Pegas$93 million
 
31Textilgruppe Hof$91 million
32Jacob Holm$91 million
33Andrew Industries$89 million
34Unitika$85 million
35Propex Fabrics (formerly BP Amoco)$82 million
 
36Toray Saehan$80 million
37Kuraray$71 million
38Precision Custom Coatings$70 million
39KNH$65 million
40Companhia Providencia$60 million
41Lantor BV$53 million
42Fitesa$37 million
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