Filtration Industry Consolidates

March 20, 2014

As we went to press, Lydall announced it had acquired the industrial filtration business belonging to Andrew Industries for $83 million. The move strengthens Lydall’s position as an industry-leading global provider of filtration and engineered material products and diversifies the company’s end markets and geographic revenue base.

Andrew is also a leading global manufacturer and supplier of nonwoven filtration felt media and filter bags for industrial air filtration applications. In the U.S., these products are sold under brands Southern Felt while in Europe they are known as Andrew Webron and in Asia as China Felt Company. Nonwoven filter media is the most commonly used filter technology to satisfy increasing emission control regulations in a wide range of industries including power, cement, steel, asphalt, incineration, food and pharmaceuticals. The acquired business consists of operations in the U.S., the U.K. and China and approximately 500 employees.

In 2013, Andrew’s sales were about $127 million, which was down from about $150 million the year before. Based on 2012 nonwovens revenue Andrew was ranked the 32nd largest nonwovens company in the world while Lydall holds the 41 spot with $118 million. The acquisition will boost Lydall’s standings in the global nonwovens arena, expand its global footprint, and add complementary and new technologies to its product portfolio. Moving forward look for Lydall to push east, leveraging Andrew’s well-established presence in faster growing Asian markets.

In other news on the filtration front, Polymer Group Inc. (PGI), the world’s largest nonwovens manufacturer, says it is making an investment of roughly $8 million to upgrade machinery and expand its manufacturing plant in Waynesboro, VA. By the end of Q2 2014, PGI says it will refurbish more than 20,000 square feet of the Waynesboro plant, upgrade an existing research and development machine used to create proprietary filtration technology, install two additional assets and improve the existing quality lab with state-of-the-art equipment.

With the acquisition of Fiberweb last year and this new investment, PGI’s filtration segment will be one of the strongest n the industry. Once the investment is complete, PGI says it will be one of the only nonwovens companies able to produce every component needed to make synthetic composites for enhanced mechanical filtration applications. Using these synthetic composites, PGI will initially target the HVAC, facemask, fluid power and automotive cabin air markets.

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