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BBA Fiberweb



Published September 7, 2006
Related Searches: Wipes thermal bonding Hygiene reicofil
BBA Fiberweb
Old Hickory, TN
www.bbafiberweb.com
$1.1 billion (£619m)

BBA Fiberweb - Industrial North America
Old Hickory, TN
BBA Fiberweb - Hygiene Americas
Simpsonville, SC

Plants

Bethune, SC; Green Bay, WI; Gray Court, SC; Griswoldville, MA; Queretaro, Mexico; Old Hickory, TN; Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil; Simpsonville, SC; Washougal, WA

Processes

Airlaid, chemical bonded, caustic entanglement, thermal bonding, hydroentanglement, meltblown, sorbent composites, spunbond PP, Spunbond PET, PP and PET bicomponent

Brand Names

Reemay, Korma, Liberty, Qualiflo, Starweb, AQF, Securon, Terram, Typar, Softex, Sofspan, Webril, Novonette, Biobarrier, Bidim, Linopor, UltraFlo

Major Markets

Construction and ground contact, consumer care, filtration, hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, sorbent materials
BBA Fiberweb - Asia-Pacific
Kowloon, Hong Kong

Plants

Tianjin, China; Rayong, Thailand

Processes

Airlaid, chemical bonded, caustic entanglement, thermal bonding, hydroentanglement, meltblown, sorbent composites, spunbond PP, PET bicomponent

Brand Names

Reemay, Korma, Starweb, AQF, Securon, Terram, Typar, Softex, Sofspan, Webril, Novonette, Biobarrier, Bidim, Linopor, UltraFlo

Major Markets

Construction and ground contact, consumer care, filtration, hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, sorbent materials

BBA Fiberweb-Europe
Trezzano Rosa, Italy

Plants

Biesheim, France; Aschersleben, Germany; Berlin, Germany; Trezzano Rosa, Italy; Pontypool, U.K.; Norrköping, Sweden; Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia (JV); Port Elizabeth, South Africa (JV), Peine, Germany; Peregallo di Lesmo, Italy, Terno d’Isola, Italy, Alicante, Spain

Processes

Airlaid, chemical bonded, caustic entanglement, thermal bonding, hydroentanglement, meltblown, sorbent composites, spunbond PP, PP and PET bicomponent

Brand Names

Reemay, Korma, Starweb, AQF, Securon, Terram, Typar, Softex, Sofspan, Webril, Novonette, Biobarrier, Bidim, Linopor, UltraFlo

Major Markets

Construction and ground contact, consumer care, filtration, hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, sorbent materials

The big news from BBA Fiberweb is its parent parent’s decision to demerge the nonwovens producer and grant it a separate listing on the London Stock Exchange. The May announcement that BBA Group would demerge the Fiberweb division, which reported a sales increase of 12% to £619 million ($1.1 billion) in 2005, came after an earlier announcement that it was exploring means to separate nonwovens in an effort to focus on its core aviation services business. According to reports, a demerger was favored over a sale when BBA failed to fetch the appropriate price for the nonwovens division. BBA received a number of offers to buy Fiberweb but decided that the demerger and separate listing of Fiberweb were in the best interest of its shareholders.

As the company works towards its demerger, growth continues to be a chief concern. In November, the company announced it would expand its Norrköping, Sweden facility through a $25 million investment. Under construction currently is a new 20,000-meter Reifenhäuser 4 spunbond production line, which will largely focus on the hygiene market.  The new line will replace older technology and add nearly 50% additional capacity to the Norrköping site. Executives called the 5.2m wide production line a cost leader in the industry, which will enable the large-scale production of high quality, ultra-lightweight fabrics for the personal care industry.

The Swedish investment comes on the heels of doubling spunbond manufacturing capacity in BBA Fiberweb’s plant in San Jose Iturbide, Mexico in 2005-2006, and 50% capacity increases for industrial fabrics at facilities in Germany and in Brazil. These latest investment decisions are part of an accelerated drive by Fiberweb to build further competitive advantage through manufacturing. Further moves to rationalize older capacity and add leading-edge technology may be expected in the Americas and Europe shortly, with expansion in Asia also a high priority for Fiberweb.

Commenting on the investment, Fiberweb’s CEO Daniel Dayan said, “I am delighted that we can accelerate the implementation of our strategy in hygiene and industrial markets with this investment. Fiberweb is going to remain a market leader in its chosen segments—competitive in standard products and leading in innovation. Our Swedish site has been a crucial component of our unique worldwide production network and this investment secures its future as an outstanding supplier to Northern European customers.  As we look forward to the pending separation from BBA,  Fiberweb can be seen continuing to develop its business; serving customers and delivering excellent returns for shareholders.”

Also set to benefit BBA’s hygiene division is a recent initiative to restructure its hygiene business in the Americas. This plan called for the closure of several older production lines as well as the consolidation of BBA’s Simpsonville, SC site into a smaller area. In June BBA shut down two production lines—a narrow SMS line and a narrow spunbond line—in its Washougal, WA facility, while in July the company closed an SMMMS barrier line, a spunbond line and a portion of a pilot line in Simpsonville, SC.

Two other production lines at the Simpsonville site are continuing operation normally and the division headquarters and support structure will remain at the site with offices consolidating among fewer buildings.

“The closure of these production lines is a difficult but essential step to ensure that our operations are capable of competing effectively in this very demanding market” said Dave Rousse, president, BBA Fiberweb Hygiene/Medical Americas Division. “These moves follow the decision last year to close our Toronto facility and move the two machines to more strategic sites. The reconditioned Reicofil 3 line going to Mexico is now in production. We are also moving ahead with a warehouse expansion at our Green Bay, WI facility, commercializing a new specialty calendar on Line 3 at our Washougal, WA facility, enhancing our fiber handling capability at Bethune, SC and we are exploring several other promising investment options for Simpsonville and other sites. We regret the impact that closures have on affected individuals and communities. Once we have completed this difficult restructuring, we are optimistic that we will have created a significantly more robust business.”

Meanwhile, BBA has expanded its airlaid business with the construction of a new line at its Korma facility near Monza, Italy. The line, representing a $20 million investment, will include the next generation of flexible and modular airlaid technology developed by M&J Fibretech, a division of Neumag. This will be BBA’s second airlaid line. In 2001, the company started its first airlaid operation in Tianjin, China and in September the company announced it would add a second line to this facility. Using local technology, the new line will target the growing Chinese market for airlaid products and will complement the plant's existing line, which is based on M&J Fibertech technology.

Despite its ambitious investment plans, BBA continues to struggle, like many nonwovens producers, with raw material prices. In 2005, pricing levels drove Fiberweb operating profits down 10% to £44 million, and executives are reporting continued pressures ahead. However, the restructuring of the North American hygiene business as well as other cost-saving measures are expected to help this situation.

Not feeling the brunt of the raw material prices increases so sharply is Fiberweb’s industrial division, which serves such major markets as construction, filtration, sorbents and other specialty areas. Among the company’s industrial markets is filtration where its Reemay brand product has been successful in the pool and spa market while allowing the company to expand the breadth of its filtration media offerings. Additionally, the company’s Typar housewrap product continues to perform well in the construction sector thanks to its combination of strength, tear resistance, moisture vapor properties and ease of use. BBA has been adding new products to its Typar line to build on the strength of its housewrap product with a range of target-specific products such as flashing and a coastal wrap.

Also, helping out BBA’s growth is the acquisition of Tenotex in 2004. The addition of this key supplier to the European wipes market has helped BBA expand its role there and gave it a competitive edge in many key industrial markets. Likewise, Technofibra, acquired in 2003, gives BBA Fiberweb access to a number of new technologies and markets.