Nonwovens Industry
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First Quality


Location: GREAT NECK, NY

Sales: $250 million

Description: Plants
Hazleton, PA; McElhattan, PA

Processes
Spunmelt

Applications
Hygiene, medical

Formed in 1996, First Quality Nonwovens has steadily in­vested in its nonwovens business to make it what it is today, one of the world’s largest supplier of spunmelt nonwovens for medical and hygiene applications. Based in Great Neck, NY, the company has nonwovens operations in Hazleton and McElhattan, PA.
 
The company’s first production lines began commercial production in August 1997 and since then, new lines have come up nearly every other year. The most recent of these investments—the company’s eighth production line—was announced in mid-2007 and is currently coming onstream.
 
According to industry insiders, the current output of tight-lipped, privately held First Quality Nonwovens is in the 90,000-100,000 ton range, making its sales in the $250 million range. Until recently, First Quality was a major supplier of nonwovens to many of North America’s major hygiene producers, however the company sent supply and demand levels into a tailspin earlier this year when it acquired Covidien’s Retail Products business, which includes what is probably North America’s largest private label diaper business. First Quality, which already produced private label feminine hygiene items, adult diapers, wipes and consumer paper products, had announced earlier in 2007 plans to enter the private label diaper market and this acquisition propelled it to the forefront of this industry.
 
At the time of the acquisition, the company indicated that ownership of Covidien provided it with a more diversified product portfolio and a  full range of adult incontinence, feminine hygiene, wet and dry wipes and baby diaper products and would enable First Quality to enhance its relationships with retail customers by offering broader, more innovative product lines and greater value.
 
The deal was valued at $335 million. Covidien’s retail products business—once known as Tyco Healthcare—had sales of $744 million in fiscal 2007.
 
“The acquisition of Covidien’s Retail Products business is a compelling opportunity for First Quality,” said Richard Martorella, director of finance and treasury of First Quality. “The addition of retail products creates a more comprehensive Absorbent Hygiene business, solidifying First Quality’s position in our three core areas. Together, the First Quality Absorbent Hygiene division will provide customers with a full suite of premium products serving the infant care, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene segments. We welcome Covidien’s Retail Products business and its hardworking and dedicated employees to the First Quality family.”


Location: GREAT NECK, NY


Sales: $250 Million


Description: Plants
Hazleton, PA; McElhattan, PA

Processes
Spunmelt

Applications
Hygiene, medical

First Quality Nonwovens continues to invest in both its nonwovens and its packaged goods business with plans for a new diaper plant as well as its first foray into spunlacing making headlines in recent months. Formed in 1996, First Quality Nonwovens has steadily invested in its nonwovens business to make it what it is today, one of the world’s largest suppliers of spunmelt nonwovens for medical and hygiene applications. Based in Great Neck, NY, the company has nonwovens operations in Hazleton and McElhattan, PA, which largely serve its massive private label businesses.

According to industry insiders, the current output of tightlipped, privately held First Quality Nonwovens is in the 90,000- 100,000 ton range, making its sales in the $250 million range. About 18 months ago, First Quality made an ambitious purchase within the private label diaper market when it bought Covidien’s retail Products Business (formerly Tyco), making it a forward integrated nonwovens supplier and converter.

First Quality had already produced private label feminine hygiene items, adult diapers, wipes and consumer paper products prior to this purchase and had announced earlier in 2007 plans to enter the private label diaper market.

At the time of the acquisition, the company indicated that ownership of Covidien provided it with a more diversified product portfolio and a full range of adult incontinence, feminine hygiene, wet and dry wipes and baby diaper products and would enable First Quality to enhance its relationships with retail customers by offering broader, more innovative product lines and greater value.

The deal was valued at $335 million. Covidien’s retail products business—once known as Tyco Healthcare—had sales of $744 million in fiscal 2007.

First Quality is already expanding this business. In July, a report regarding First Quality’s approval to construct a one-million-squarefoot diaper manufacturing facility in Granville, PA was published on the Pennsylvania governor’s official website. The new construction is expected to create 500 jobs in the area within the next five years.

In other investment news, First Quality began making spunlaced nonwovens this spring on a 3.6-meter-wide Rieter hydroentanglement line, which will reportedly feed the company’s private label baby wipes business. Until the new line started up, First Quality had concentrated its nonwovens business on spunmelt technology. The company’s most recent spunmelt investment—its eighth line—was added in late 2008.

Location: Great Neck, NY

Sales: $220 million

Description: Plants
Hazleton, PA; McElhattan, PA

Processes
Spunmelt

Applications
Hygiene, medical

First Quality Nonwovens continues to invest in both its nonwovens and its packaged goods business with plans for a new diaper plant as well as its first foray into spunlacing making headlines in recent months.
Formed in 1996, First Quality Nonwovens has steadily invested in its nonwovens business to make it what it is today, one of the world’s largest suppliers of spunmelt nonwovens for medical and hygiene applications. Based in Great Neck, NY, the company has nonwovens operations in Hazleton and McElhattan, PA, which largely serve its massive private label businesses.
According to industry insiders, the current output of tight-lipped, privately held First Quality Nonwovens is in the 90,000-100,000 ton range. In 2009, with raw material prices dipping, sales likely dropped at the roll goods producer and industry experts put sales in the $220 million range.
Much of this output supplies First Quality’s huge private label disposables business which includes a huge disposable diaper business. This business was purchased from Covidien’s retail products business (formerly Tyco) in early 2008 but even before this addition the company had operated a sizable private label business including feminine hygiene items and adult diapers. In 2007, the company announced it planned to enter the disposable diaper business and even began laying the groundwork for a Greenfield investment before acquiring Covidien and propelling itself to the forefront of the industry.
The deal was valued at $335 million. Covidien’s retail products business—once known as Tyco Healthcare—had sales of $744 million in fiscal 2007.
At the time of the acquisition, the company indicated that ownership of Covidien provided it with a more diversified product portfolio and a  full range of adult incontinence, feminine hygiene, wet and dry wipes and baby diaper products and would enable First Quality to enhance its relationships with retail customers by offering broader, more innovative product lines and greater value.
However, entering this business has not been without its hurdles. Last year, First Quality reportedly lost a large contract with Wal-Mart when it discontinued its White Cloud brand of disposable diapers. Despite, this First Quality is expanding its place in diapers. Last year, First Quality reportedly won approval to construct a one-million-square-foot diaper manufacturing facility in Granville, PA and sources close to the company say future investment will continue.
In other investment news, First Quality began making spunlaced nonwovens last year on a 3.6-meter-wide Rieter hydroentanglement line, which will reportedly feed the company’s private label baby wipes business. Until the new line started up, First Quality had concentrated its nonwovens business on spunmelt technology. The company’s most recent spunmelt investment–its eighth line—was added in late 2008.
Beyond nonwovens, in June the company announced it would add a thru-air dryer tissue machine at a new site in Anderson, SC to target the luxury paper towel and bath tissue markets.



Great Neck, NY
www.firstquality.com
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $250 million

Plants: Hazleton, PA; McElhattan, PA; Wuxi, China (planned)

Processes: Spunmelt, spunlace

Applications: Hygiene, medical

Recent news for forward integrated nonwovens supplier First Quality includes a Chinese investment plan. The company is moving forward with an ambitious expansion plan—a two-line facility in Wuxi, China, which will be the company’s first operation outside the U.S.

According to executives at the tight-lipped nonwovens producer—which also makes diapers, feminine hygiene items and other consumer goods for the private label market—the company’s investment in China is a clear demonstration of its commitment to the global nonwovens industry and its dedication to satisfying the needs of the domestic Chinese market by providing innovative and high quality products.

The first line is scheduled to be operational next year. It will be a multi-beam Reifenhauser machine incorporating the latest technology and enabling First Quality to provide premium nonwoven material to the hygiene and medical markets throughout Asia. Details on the second line will be announced in 2012.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Great Neck, NY-based company is said to make about 100,000 tons of spunmelt nonwovens at two plants in Pennsylvania and is rumored to have recently added two spunlace lines to its operation to fuel growth in the private label wipes segment. Much of this output supplies First Quality’s massive private label business, which includes the former Covidien/Tyco diaper business purchased by the company in 2008, as well as its own interests in the private label feminine hygiene and adult incontinence market.

As First Quality continues to vie for a top spot in the disposable diaper market, it is unclear how much of its new Chinese investment will feed an expansion of its consumer products into Asia.

In other news, First Quality began making spunlaced nonwovens last year on a 3.6-meter-wide Rieter hydroentanglement line, which will reportedly feed its private label baby wipes business. The company is said to be adding a second line to this operation already. First Quality had previously concentrated its nonwovens business only on spunmelt technology. The company’s eighth spunmelt line was added in late 2008.
Beyond nonwovens, in August 2010, the company’s baby care arm, First Quality Baby Products, LLC, said it would modernize its absorbent hygiene manufacturing facilities in Macon, GA, which was acquired with the Covidien deal. 
Great Neck, NY
www.firstquality.com
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $250 million
 
Plants: Hazleton, PA; McElhattan, PA; Wuxi, China
 
Processes: Spunmelt, spunlace
 
Applications: Hygiene, medical
 
First Quality Nonwovens started off 2013 with a new production site in Wuxi, China. The U.S.-based maker of spunmelt nonwovens announced in 2010 it would establish a Chinese nonwovens operation in Wuxi to better serve customers in the Asian hygiene market. The new line, described as a multibean Reifenhauser machine incorporating the latest technology available, will allow First Quality to provide premium nonwoven material to hygiene and medical markets in China and throughout the Asia-Pacific.
 
In announcing the new site, First Quality reported it would eventually house two lines but so far details on the second line have not been announced.
 
According to executives at the tight-lipped nonwovens producer, which also makes diapers, feminine hygiene items and other consumer goods for the private label market, the company’s investment in China is a clear demonstration of its commitment to the global nonwovens industry and its dedication to satisfying the needs of the domestic Chinese market by providing innovative and high quality products.
 
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Great Neck, NY-based company is said to make about 100,000 tons of spunmelt nonwovens at two plants in Pennsylvania. Much of this output supplies First Quality’s massive private label business, which includes the former Covidien/Tyco diaper business purchased by the company in 2008, as well as its own interests in the private label feminine hygiene and adult incontinence market. As First Quality continues to vie for a top spot in the disposable diaper market, it is unclear how much of its new Chinese investment will feed an expansion of its consumer products into Asia.
 
In other news, First Quality began making spunlaced nonwovens last year on a 3.6-meter-wide Rieter hydroentanglement line, which will reportedly feed its private label baby wipes business. The company is said to be adding a second line to this operation already. First Quality had previously concentrated its nonwovens business only on spunmelt technology. The company’s eighth spunmelt line was added in late 2008.
 
Beyond nonwovens, in August 2010, the company’s baby care arm, First Quality Baby Products, LLC, said it would modernize its absorbent hygiene manufacturing facilities in Macon, GA, which was acquired with the Covidien deal.
 
Within the company’s adult care business, First Quality has teamed up with Healthcare Academy to introduce a quality management initiative for long-term care facilities. The concept behind this initiative is to deliver an integrated approach with a low fee that is cost effective and results in management efficiency and consistency.