Poul Mikkelsen, chairman; Peter Opperman, CEO; Jack Richardson, COO; Ingo Johannsen, CFO; Michael Norboge, vice president of Personal & Home Care; Claudia De Buman, vice president of Special & Technical Applications
PlantsAsheville, NC, USA; Soultz, France; Mildenau, Germany
Brand namesLidro, Norafin, Rn’S
Major marketsWipes, Hygiene, Medical, Filtration, Packaging, Protective apparel and Automotive
In September 2006, Jacob Holm Industries said it would spin off its Special & Technical Applications (STA) division to perform under the name of Norafin in the future. Jacob Holm had decided to spin off this division in July. Production and marketing of the technical and industrial products will be handled in the future by the newly founded Norafin. Consolidating its sales and marketing organization headquartered in Switzerland, Norafin GmbH, its German production facilities, Norafin Industires (Germany, and its American sales organization, STA will be further expanded under the leadership of Andre Lang, president Norafin, and Mitch Sanner, president of the American sales organization and COO of Norafin.
Continued growth can be expected for the coming years for Jacob Holm Industries. Sales of $87 million were relatively unchanged in 2005 as the company commissioned and started production on its new spunlace line in new facilities in Asheville, NC and looked toward boosting its Special and Technical Applications (STA) unit. However, sales are expected to jump this year as the new North American spunlace line is fully commercial, according to Jacob Holm Group CEO Peter Oppermann.
“The line's real potential will be visible during the course of 2006, the qualification process of our non-standard products has just taken more time than expected in 2005; however, the sold-out position was reached at the end of the second quarter. The advantages of a very versatile, yet highly productive line being able to produce two times textile width fabrics (4.6 m line width) supported the business as expected,” Mr. Oppermann explained. Jacob Holm invested more than $50 million in this U.S. facility to accomplish two phases of business expansion in the U.S. The new line can produce 15,000 tons of spunlace material per year and will serve the wipes market, a core segment for Jacob Holm's spunlace business in Europe and North America, as well as a range of technical markets, namely filtration and protective apparel.
In fact, Jacob Holm’s focus on these technical areas resulted in the spin off of its technical activities under the name Jacob Holm & Sons STA, into which LD Equity invested. Jacob Holm & Sons STA announced the acquisition of Tytex in July 2006. Jacob Holm & Sons STA will employ 500 and achieve sales of $94 million. Tytex is a producer of knitted technology for global healthcare companies. Among Tytex’s key markets are adult incontinence items, hip protection, nursing mothers, bandages for wound and skin care and orthopedic solutions.
“We are not combining the two companies in order to produce the standard tough-action cost synergies. We intend to exploit the fact that the two companies both develop and manufacture advanced textiles based on a high knowledge content and close partnership with customers. Also, both operate in markets driven by innovation. That is why the two companies can learn from each others’ experience and together build a global platform and a broader range of solutions to offer our customers. By combining the two technologies, we will also be able to design entirely new products to spur growth,” said Christian Møller, partner with LD Equity, and Poul Martin Mikkelsen, chairman of the board of Jacob Holm & Sønner A/S in a joint statement.
Tytex Group will operate a subsidiary under its own name and with its own brands. Poul Martin Mikkelsen, owner of parent company Jacob Holm & Sønner A/S, will be appointed chairman of the board of directors of Jacob Holm & Sons STA while Christian Møller, Stig Løkke Pedersen, executive vice president of H. Lundbeck A/S, and Martin Mikkelsen, attorney, will also serve on the board.
Peter Aggersbjerg, who was the CEO of Tytex from 2001 to April 2006, will become CEO of Jacob Holm & Sons STA. He orchestrated the company’s successful transition from a contract manufacturer to an innovative, market-driven healthcare company. Per Gernow will stay on as CEO of Tytex.
Jacob Holm’s activities in the production of nonwovens for applications within personal hygiene, cosmetics and cleaning will continue without change. According to Eveline Geser, marketing director, this business arm has been challenged by pricing concerns and retailer pressures.
rnHowever, Jacob Holm has been making strides in developing specialty wipes as well as continuing to improve its productivity. “Supported by one of the most versatile and complete spunlace nonwovens production assets and an in-depth understanding of market requirements Jacob Holm has in close cooperation with its clients developed solutions providing an opportunity to differentiate in a highly competitive market. The utilization of specialty fibers, composite structures as well as customized patterning helped that initiative,” Ms. Geser added.