Fiberweb reported in early January that trading volumes grew about 3% in 2011 despite continued challenges and weaker-than-expected demand in southern Europe. The new Geosynthetics division traded in-line with expectations and both the Boddingtons and Tubex businesses acquired during 2011 delivered anticipated volume growth. Technical Fabrics saw continued weak markets in North America and an adverse impact of about £3 million resulted from temporary disruption to sales and operating costs during the planned closure of a plant at Königswinter, Germany and the transfer of the business to a new line in Berlin. These operational issues are being successfully resolved.
On the plus side, Fiberweb saw some relief from raw material costs during the second half; however margins in continuing buisnesses were impacted by delays in the commissioning of a new line in Berlin.
The sale of Fiberweb’s hygiene business, for $286 million, has resulted in a strengthened balance sheet.