Key PersonnelMarko Rajamaa, vice president, Nonwovens; Chip Aiken, senior vice president, nanufacturing; Mike Brown, Nonwovens Sales Manager—Americas and Far East; Norbert Busch, nonwovens sales manager—Europe and the Middle East; Laurence Li, nonwovens division technology manager
PlantsDelta, British Columbia, Canada; Steinfurt, Germany; Gaston, NC
ProcessesLatex bonded, thermal bonded and multibonded airlaid
Brand NamesVicell, Vizorb, Unicore,
Duocore, Walkisoft, Airspun
Major MarketsFeminine hygiene, baby diapers, adult incontinence, premoistened wipes, moist tissue, medical, tabletop, wipers, filtration, food packaging, household cleaning products.
Sales have continued to grow for Buckeye Technologies as it continues to expand its airlaid nonwovens into new markets and grow its role in existing markets. In 2005, the Memphis, TN-based company reported sales of $240.8 million compared to $226.4 million the year before.
“Sales are strong and we have been able to increase prices to help with increasing manufacturing costs, but these prices have not kept up,” said sales manager Michael Brown.
In terms of end use markets, a large portion of Buckeye’s airlaid output continues to serve the specialty wipes market.
“Even though a lot of spunlace capacity has come osntream, the impact of this on our business has really been minimal,” Mr. Brown said. “Our wipes business has never been stronger”.
Last year, Buckeye began supplying specialty wipes into Europe, where spunlace has traditionally been the preferred susbstrate, and while this market has not resulted in explosive growth for Buckeye, which operates an airlaid line in Steinfurt, Germany, it has become a nice market for Buckeye.
Meanwhile, Buckeye's other core business, feminine hygiene, continues to be strong. Beyond that, new markets for airlaid is a major initiative. “New applications are a major focus for us and we are investigating a number of interesting opportunities” Mr. Brown said. “We have to look into other new areas to increase our business and hopefully our margins'.
In fact, new product development is so important to Buckeye that in February it established a new marketing organization within the company to bring new products to market on an accelerated schedule. The division is being led by Jeff Cook, with the support of Susan Crenshaw and Hank Hall, who formerly served as nonwovens sales manager for the Americas and Far East.