Nonwovens Industry
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Fibertex Nonwovens


Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertex.com
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $126 million

Key Personnel: Jørgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO; Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, group R&D manager; Bjarne Knudsen, CEO, Czech Republic

Plants: Denmark, the Czech Republic, France and South Africa

Processes: Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnation, coating and a range of finishing technologies

Major Markets: Acoustics, automotive, bedding, composites, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture

Fibertex Nonwovens was separated from Fibertex Personal Care in 2011 so that the two businesses, which had become very different over time, could operate independently in their key markets. “The separation enabled each company to focus on and communicate its strengths and values to the market,” says Jørgen Bech Madsen, CEO, Fibertex Nonwovens. “The transition has progressed as scheduled and well.”

Today, Fibertex Nonwovens manufactures nonwovens for many different product applications. Global business segments include: automotive (insulation of engine compartments, car ceilings, door panels, trim panels and acoustic solutions); construction (geotextiles, building and composite materials, as well as do-it-yourself products); industrial (furniture, bedding, carpets and flooring and the med-tech industry); filtration (air, liquid and odor filters) and acoustics; wipes (wet wipes for the consumer market and specialist products for the industrial market).

The company has a strong position in a number of areas with significant growth perspectives, Madsen notes. “Apart from the considerable growth in global demand for products for the automotive industry, we expect to see a range of major infrastructure projects and construction works take large amounts of geotextiles in the coming years both in Europe and in the global growth markets.”

Fibertex Nonwovens generated revenue of DKK 726 million in 2011, compared to DKK 413 million in 2010. The improvement was mainly due to the acquisition of French nonwovens manufacturer Tharreau Industries, which specializes in developing products for the automotive industry and for industrial applications.

Tharreau contributed DKK 260 million to consolidated revenue from the date of takeover in May, according to the 2011 annual report for Fibertex Nonwoven’s parent company Schow & Co. Tharreau has been renamed Fibertex Nonwovens S.A.

The acquisition has not only strengthened Fibertex Nonwovens A/S but also generated substantial synergies for both companies, according to Madsen. “The objective of the acquisition of Tharreau Industries was to accelerate the strategic development of Fibertex Nonwovens to become a European market leader and create a strong platform for geographical growth. Since the acquisition we have focused on the integration of Fibertex Nonwovens S.A. in Fibertex Nonwovens A/S. Today, Fibertex Nonwovens has 98.8% of the shares in Fibertex Nonwovens S.A.”

In terms of the company’s strategic direction for the future, Fibertex Nonwovens intends to become the leading, globally positioned supplier of nonwovens with value added and cost-effective solutions to the automotive industry, industrial end uses, construction and composites industry, filtration, specialty wipes and medical end uses, says Madsen.

Other goals include increasing profitability and earning power through innovative solutions, technological leadership and, as a benchmark supplier, having strong value proposition to deliver solutions at competitive costs throughout the value chain.

Meanwhile, Madsen notes the importance of supporting his company’s customers’ geographical expansion in growth markets, and will aim to deliver sustainable and profitable global growth through a robust business platform. An example of this is the company’s recent expansion into South Africa where it will make needlepunch nonwovens for geotextile and automotive applications.

According to the 2011 annual report, Fibertex Nonwovens has focused its efforts on adapting to the current competitive market situation. “The company has supported these efforts by increasingly working the markets, winning marketshare in its core business areas while also improving the sale of products for the composite industry and of specialist high-value products.”

The company has also identified a number of new business opportunities for 2012. “In terms of R&D and innovation, the company has built a strong product portfolio supporting the long-term strategy of increasing the proportion of high-value products.” At the time of its annual report, Fibertex Nonwovens expected to generate revenue of around DKK 900 million. 
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertex.com
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $161 million
 
Key Personnel: Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO, Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO, Lars Bertelsen, COO, Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO, Keld Lauridsen, group R&D manager, Bjarne Knudsen, CEO, Czech Republic
 
Plants: Denmark, the Czech Republic, France and South Africa
 
Processes: Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnation, coating and a range of finishing technologies
 
Major Markets: Acoustics, automotive, bedding, composites, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture
 
Sales at Fibertex Nonwovens received a boost in 2012 due to the acquisition of French Tharreau Industries in May 2011 as well as a generally higher level of business activity across all of its business for much of the year.
 
Including the Tharreau business, which is now known as Fibertex Nonwovens S.A., Fibertex, based in Aalborg, Denmark, has operations in Denmark, the Czech Republic, France and South Africa and serves industrial markets like automotives, construction, filtration and geotextiles. The company was created in 2011 when it split from sister company, Fibertex Personal Care.
 
In the past couple of years, Fibertex Nonwovens has focused on broadening its global footprint. “We try to go where we see the right opportunities for growth,” says Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO. “And from there we adapt to competitive market situations.”
 
The acquisition of Tharreau Industries reportedly generated substantial synergies for both companies and has helped accelerate Fibertex Nonwovens’ strategy of becoming a European market leader. The operation contains needlepunch and spunlaced nonwovens located in Chemille, France.
 
Fibertex Nonwovens has also looked to South Africa for growth. In January 2010, the company announced it had started a state-of-the-art needlepunch line in South Africa. The facility makes and markets needlepunch nonwovens, primarily geotextiles, for road construction as well as products for the growing South African automotives industry.
 
Since the site’s establishment, most of Fibertex’s efforts there have focused on building production and positioning the company in the marketplace. Demand has been ramping up, however, more recently, driven by a large number of infrastructure projects in South Africa and its neighboring countries. Also helping to boost his operation is the acquisition of the distributor Geotextil Africa in late 2012. This move is expected to boost both revenue and earnings in 2013.
 
In addition to operations in France and South America, Fibertex Nonwovens operates a sizable needlepunch center at its headquarters in Aalaborg, Denmark. In recent years, efforts have focused on modernizing these operations to increase both productivity and efficiency. The company also operates a Czech Republic operation, which was acquired from Vigona in 2008.
 
Key markets for Fibertex Nonwovens include automotives, construction, industrial, filtration and wipes. Throughout all of these markets, Fibertex has been focusing on increasing its earnings potential and improving the ratio between the price it pays for raw materials and the price it fetches for its products.
 
“We truly have improved out place in the European market,” Bech says. “We are improving our earnings and we are passing through out raw material prices. We have a strong portfolio of products and we are working on growing sales in our more value added areas.”