$81 million (€65 million)
Key personnelMatteo Moltrasio, vice president; Luigi Cassano, managing director; Alessandro Taramasso, commercial director
PlantMasserano, Biella, Italy
ISO StatusISO 9001:2000 since 1997 renewed in 2006
ProcessSpunbonded, spunbonded-meltblown, carded thermal bonded
MarketHygiene, wipes, medical, agriculture, industrial
sales were on the rise for Italian roll goods producer Union Industries. And, with a new line—the company’s fifth—set to come onstream within the fourth quarter of this year, this trend is only set to continue. In 2005, sales clocked in at €65 million due largely to the full utilization of a new Reicofil 4 SSS line, which began production in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to vice president Matteo Moltrasio.
The new line, which like the rest of Union Industries’ business mainly targets hygiene applications, joined four other production lines, a carded line built in 2000 and three other Reifenhauser lines, an SMS line installed in 1994 and upgraded in 2005 and two SSS lines, which Union Industries added in 2001 and 2004.
“We are quite specialized in lightweight materials so our core business is hygienic,” Mr. Moltrasio said. “This does not mean we won’t sell to other markets. Even today, we are involved in other markets, not quite as important as hygiene—agriculture market, medical, industrial applications and a little bit of filtration as well.”
Currently, about 90% of Union Industries 45,000-ton capacity is exported beyond Italy with main markets lying within Europe but other areas of interest including the Middle East and the Far East.
Because the bulk of its output is based on polypropylene and focused on the hygiene market, Union Industries, like many nonwovens producers in its position, has been challenged by pricing pressures and eroding markets.
“For sure, raw material prices have made earnings much more difficult than in the past,” said Mr. Moltrasio. “Also a lot of new capacity is coming on the market. The raw material prices are getting higher and higher and obviously our margins are very much reduced if we compare the margins we have today to the past.”
Also of interest to Union Industries is the wipes market, which it targets with material made on its carded thermal bonded line, established in 2000. This line can make materials with blends of polypropylene and other fibers such as cotton and viscose, making them ideal for wipes.
Union Industries has achieved success by concentrating on understanding the market needs and trying to serve them with the latest technologies available. “We try to innovate with some new technology and we are always focusing to keep a very high standard in terms of quality and in terms of service. Most importantly, we are able to grant the same high standard constantly.