International Top 40

By Karen McIntyre, Editor | September 10, 2008

Raw Material Prices, Raw Material Prices, Raw Material Prices

1. Freudenberg    $1.45 billion

2. DuPont    $1.35 billion

3. Kimberly-Clark    $1.3 billion

4. Ahlstrom    $1.28 billion

5. PGI    $1.06 billion

6. Fiberweb    $948 million

7. Johns Manville    $670 million

8. Fibertex    $294 million

9. Buckeye    $260 million

10. First Quality    $250 million

11. Avgol    $237 million

12. Companhia Providencia    $225 million

12. Hollingsworth & Vose     $225 million

14. Concert Industries    $212 million

15. TWE Group    $211 million

16. Propex    $210 million

17. Colbond    $195 million

18. Japan Vilene    $194 million

19. Vita Nonwovens    $190 million

20. Sandler    $171 million

21. Asahi Kasei    $170 million

22. Pegas    $167 million

23. Jacob Holm     $160 million

24. Georgia-Pacific    $150 million

25. Toyobo     $143 million

26. Mitsui    $136 million

27. Lydall    $135 million

28. Andrew Industries    $130 million

29. Western Nonwovens    $125 million

30. Toray Saehan    $123 million

31. Foss Manufacturing    $108 million

32. Suominen     $104 million

33. Fitesa    $103 million

34. Royal Tencate    $102 million

35. Albis    $100 million

36. Textilgruppe Hof    $98 million

37. Union (Ranking for 2007 should be 28)    $133 million

38. Unitika    $88 million

39. PCC    $87 million

40. Rexcell    $86 million

Raw Material Prices, Raw Material Prices, Raw Material Prices

That was the key point on nearly every nonwoven producer’s mind in this year’s Top Company report. How to reduce them, how to pass them on to their customers, how they will trend going forward. With oil prices hitting all-time highs, it’s no surprise that most of the nonwovens executives interviewed cited the price of oil-based raw materials as the number one problem facing their businesses moving forward. Most executives have combatted these price hikes by imposing their own price increases on their customers but these measures have only taken nonwovens producers part of the way when it comes to margin erosion. Other measures have included reduced basis weights, streamlined production and alternative raw materials.

Despite these troubles, the nonwovens industry remains a strong and growing market with nearly every producer reporting sales growth and several announcing expansion plans in a number of technologies. On the spunmelt side, Brazilian producers Fitesa and Companhia Providencia have announced plans to enter North America and additional investment is being planned by Pegas in the Czech Republic and PGI in Mexico. Ahlstrom continues to invest heavily in both wipes and filtration and Denmark’s Fibertex is focusing on the technical side of its business with new lines in Denmark and the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, Fiberweb and Concert Industries are investing in airlaid technology.

In total, this year’s report includes 17 European companies, 14 North American firms, five Japanese producers, two Brazilian manufacturers and an Israeli  and a Korean company. Many of these companies are truly global in scope with manufacturing sites located throughout the world.

This year, Nonwovens Industry welcomes several newcomers to its top company report. First Quality Nonwovens, a long-time maker of spunmelt nonwovens, enters the top company report for the first time at number 10 this year. First Quality’s purchase of Covidien’s retail business makes it an integrated producer of spunmelt nonwovens and disposable baby diapers. Also new this year is Fitesa, a Brazilian producer, who appears at number 33.

In addition to the world’s 40 largest producers of nonwovens, this year’s report includes information about several smaller producers of nonwovens that the editors of Nonwovens Industry feel will be extremely important to the nonwovens market moving forward—either in terms of their size or in their technological scope. If you think that your company should be profiled in next year’s Top Company report, please let us know.

Karen Bitz McIntyre    Ellen Wuagneux
editor    associate editor
karenb@rodpub.com    ellenw@rodpub.com

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