September 11, 2006

Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany
$145 million (€113 million)

Key Personnel

Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, members of the management board


Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany
ISO Status
ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 certified, Ökotex Standard 100, OHRIS


Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, resin bonded, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hot melt lamination and coating

Brand Names

sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, sandler-unico, sawadur, sawadry

Major Markets

Fashion, home furnishing, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)

Sales decreased to €113 million (compared to €131 million in 2004) for Sandler, the Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany-based company, due largely to declining prices, brought on by steep competition in its coverstock nonwovens business. This competition, in fact, has encouraged Sandler, a leading producer of carded nonwovens, to develop more innovative, tailor-made products within all of its current markets.

“Despite extremely high government incentive to relocate (e.g. to Eastern Europe, which would significantly decrease expenses) we have made the decision to remain in Schwarzenbach, rather than expand outside of Germany,” explained C.H. Sandler, member of the management board, whose company operates solely out of Germany. “In the Czech Republic, for example, you get incentives of nearly 50% from the government that allow companies investing there to have considerable savings. It was a conscious decision to take this more difficult course in Upper Franconia in order to use the competencies and resources existing here for the development of new high-grade products. However, this is an important precondition for safeguarding qualified jobs and providing new ones. Recent positive business developments with special products are proving this decision to be right,” Dr. Sandler added.

Despite reports that the European spunlace market has been challenged by overcapacity and pricing pressures, Dr. Sandler described the segment as “interesting and innovative.” Consequently Sandler continuously offers new spunlaced products with a large variety of different blends and/or multiple layers. Following the market’s development toward individuality and visible diversification, Sandler is offering printing, hydro embossing, thermal embossing and structured spunlaced materials to target personal care and baby wipe applications. The material’s good dust and dirt absorption rates and fast drying make it ideal for a number of household cleaning markets as well.

While wipes in general are consuming the bulk of Sandler’s spunlaced market, a number of technical applications are also opening up, according to Dr. Sandler. In fact, technical nonwovens are an important growth area across Sandler’s nonwovens business. Sandler’s most recent effort in this area is a new carded-based needle-punching nonwovens line, which is currently ramping up and will target technical applications, namely filtration and automotive products. The €10 million investment is part of a larger €25 million investment centering on special technologies for the development of new products and markets for the future. Among these new technologies will be one centering on ultrafine nonwoven material which is an important building block in developing nanofiber technology, an area Sandler feels will be important to the nonwovens industry in the future. “Technical nonwovens is a very interesting business and it’s a very good business for the structure of our company because we are focused on innovation,” he said. “We can use our technical skills.”

Automotives and filtration are two technical areas where Sandler has flourished. Nonwovens made by the company are already used in more than 30 different car models and are increasingly being accepted in vacuum cleaner filter bags. Other key growth areas include furniture and mattresses as upholstery nonwovens.

Nowhere is Sandler’s focus on new product development more clear than in the fact that more than 50% of its turnover is made with products that are younger than five-years-old. Sandler is able to achieve this through a systematic development of new products and production methods based increasingly on cooperation with universities and textile research centers. Mr. Sandler said that this strategy is not only important to his company but to the nonwovens industry in general.

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