September 11, 2006

Osaka, Japan
$82 million (¥9 billion)

Key Personnel

Masaru Tsugawa, general manager, spunbonded fabrics division; Hiroshi Kawasaki, general manager, spunbonded fabric sales


Okazaki and Tarui, Japan


Spunbond, spunlaced

Brand Names

Matrix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Alcima, Terramac, Cottoace

Major Markets

Agriculture materials, carpet backings, geotextiles, cable wraps, wipes, storage bags, coverstock, roofing sheets

Based in Osaka, Japan, roll goods producer Unitika boasts an annual production capacity of 22,000 tons of spunbond nonwovens and 5000 tons of spunlaced materials per year. Additionally, the company can manufacture another 4000 tons of polyester-based spunbonded nonwovens through its TUSCO joint venture with Teijin Films in Thailand. Although TUSCO achieved full capacity levels in 2005, neither of the company's Japan-based plants reached this mark. Consequently, the company's sales saw a decrease last year.

In the automotive sector, Unitika has made recent efforts to expand exports into China. According to the company, production of both automotive tile carpets and floor mats has been increasing in China and consequently demand for polyester spunbonded nonwovens used for carpet backings has been on the rise. As its TUSCO plant is operating at full capacity, Unitika has been exporting carpet backings into China from its Japanese plant. The company reports that it competes in China against Taiwan-based Freudenberg Far Eastern Spunweb (FFES), which dominates the carpet backing market there. In an effort to strengthen its position, Unitika plans to increase its exports into the Chinese market.

In the spunlaced sector, Unitika's production of cotton-based nonwovens has not yet reached full capacity levels. The company is currently making efforts to boost sales of Lyocell-based spunlaced nonwovens. Unitika describes nonwovens made of Lyocell as suitable for industrial wipes because of their strength, moisture retention and low linting properties. The company is also promoting five-layer composites featuring spunlaced and thermal bonded nonwovens for a variety of applications.

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