Nonwovens Industry
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Georgia-Pacific


Location: Atlanta, GA

Sales: $135 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Mike Burandt, president, Consumer Business, North America; John Lundgren, president, European Consumer Business; Paul Farren, vice president and general manager Nonwovens; Remi Perin, sales manager, French Operation; Massimo Conforti, sales manager, Italian Operation; Mike Sprangers, sales manager, North America; Tom Kalupa, senior sales representative; John Rank, sales representative

Plants
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Glen, France; Avigliano, Italy

ISO Status
Both U.S. plants ISO 9002 certified; Italy plant ISO 9002 certified; France plant ISO 9002 certified

Processes
Airlaid, carded  

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipers, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging

Georgia-Pacific made its debut on our list last year after acquiring Fort James in Deerfield, IL, and the company is already gearing up for another transformation. G-P’s consumer products business will be renamed later this year when the company separates it from the Building Products business. The company announced the separation in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June.
 
The rationale for the separation is multifaceted. For one, it will provide clear identity and focus for each business to develop strategically consistent with the fundamentals of their businesses. Furthermore, the split will clarify the makeup and strategic goals of each business to the investment community, customers and suppliers. The Consumer Products business is a leading marketer of retail and commercial paper towel, tissue and napkin products in the U.S. and manufactures such leading brands as Dixie paper plates and cups.
 
Turning toward the company’s nonwovens business, G-P designated it a separate business unit of the company in January, signaling the company’s commitment to nonwovens. As part of the designation, Paul Farren, who had previously served as vice president of business operations and supply chain management for the company’s commercial business, was named vice president and general manager of the business. The nonwovens division incorporates the company’s nonwovens retail, commercial and roll goods operations.
 
Forming a nonwovens division has created visibility throughout the company. This has resulted in galvanizing the manufacturing product development, sales and marketing, and research and development areas as a team in creatively growing the business.
 
With approximately 65,000 metric tons of annual capacity, the company is constantly assessing plans for expansion. “Georgia-Pacific is dedicated to growing its business,” Mr. Farren said. “We are constantly bringing our machines up to capabilities, and we are looking at options to grow our business from a technology and market opportunity perspective.”
 
One way in which G-P can differentiate itself from many other roll goods manufacturers is through its presence in consumer markets. As both a nonwovens producer and a manufacturer of wipes, toilet paper, paper towels and other products, G-P can better serve its roll goods customers through knowledge gained in its consumer products business. “When our roll goods customers define their market and product requirements, we can relate and validate these requirements based on inputs we gain from our internal services,” Mr. Farren explained. “This helps us to work with our roll goods customers as partners in product development.”
 
Still, G-P pays equal attention to both its roll goods customers and its consumer business and plans to invest in both areas to grow the business.
 
In its consumer business, one area of increasing interest for G-P is the moist tissue and toilet paper segment. The company recently re-launched its Quilted Northern Moist Toilet Paper with a new dispenser. Also, on the nonwovens side, G-P has launched the Brawny Shop Towel, a sturdy dry wiping product, designed for tough cleaning jobs.
 
The aforementioned products and others like them constitute approximately one-third of G-P’s nonwovens output. The remaining two-thirds are sold externally and primarily target the wipes segment, but other areas of interest include medical and feminine hygiene, according to Mr. Farren.
 
In the past 18 months, new airlaid capacity has come onstream at a record-breaking pace around the world, plaguing the segment with overcapacity and pricing pressures. While the timeline for the airlaid market’s recovery from overcapacity is uncertain, G-P will continue to concentrate on developing both the roll gods and consumer product business. This will allow the company to view the business from two sides to better serve its customers—both as a roll goods producer and a consumer products manufacturer.
 
“We will certainly meet the continued value-added requirements of our roll goods customers but we will also look to meet the needs of our consumer products business,” Mr. Farren predicted. “Both businesses reinforce one another, and both benefit from its synergies. We will continue to draw from our research development strength of existing and new patent development and align these capabilities, which require technology for future product development. Our customers have high expectations for G-P’s nonwovens and they can count on the fact that G-P will continue to deliver against their future needs.”

Location: Atlanta, GA

Sales: $133 Million

Description: Key Personnel  
Mike Burandt, president, Consumer Business, North America; John Lundgren, president, European Consumer Business; Paul Farren, vice president & general manager Nonwovens; Remi Perin, sales manager, French Operation; Massimo Conforti, sales manager, Italian Operation; Mike Sprangers, sales manager, North America; Tom Kalupa, senior sales representative; John Rank, sales representative

Plants
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Glen, France; Avigliano, Italy

ISO Status
Both U.S. plants ISO 9002 certified; Italy plant ISO 9002 certified; France plant ISO 9002 certified

Processes
Airlaid, carded  

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging.

Despite myriad problems in its core market of airlaid materials, Georgia-Pacific, Atlanta, GA, is one company with plenty of reason to smile. The company has a loyal customer base, strong research and development practices and a new technology to guide it into the future.
 
In 2002, nonwovens sales decreased slightly to $133 million. This was caused mainly by tighter margins rather than decreased volumes. All of G-P’s 40,000 metric tons of North American airlaid capacity continue to run at full operation, fueled both by internal and external sales, and the company has been increasing production capacity through efficiency measures to support its future customer’s growth.
 
“We have the advantage of being able to sell to our commercial and retail businesses, which gives us a real captive audience,” explained Paul Farren, vice president and general manager of nonwovens. “On the external roll goods side of our business, we really have established an excellent business with strong customer intimacy and consistency in our speed to market.”
 
Currently about one-third of G-P’s nonwovens output feeds its internal efforts while the remaining two-thirds is sold externally. The internal business includes such brands as Quilted Northern Moist Toilet Paper while external markets are wipes, feminine hygiene products, medical, tabletop and food packaging.
 
One area of recent interest is multibonded technology, a process G-P added in July when it adapted an existing airlaid line. Multibonded technology uses less latex bonding and more thermal bonding and requires fewer binders to create a loftier, softer fabric. This emerging technology, which is not exclusive to G-P, is preferred by many wipe converters because of the absence of stiffness.
 
With 100% of its capacity centered around airlaid technology, G-P recognizes the importance of diversifying its technology in keeping customers happy and satisfied. While no plans have been announced, Mr. Farren did admit that the adoption of complementary technologies, either through capital investment or partnerships, would certainly be  part of G-P’s business plan in the future. “As a large consumer products company we realize that we need to be involved in more than just airlaid,” he explained. “We are currently examining how we have to prepare our business to meet the needs of both our internal business and our roll goods customers.”
 
Key to G-P’s business strategy is a strong intimacy with its customers. Rather than supply one-stock product across the board, G-P caters to the needs and wants of its customers. This allows it to be more flexible to the needs of the entire market as well as prepared to shift with  the marketplace.
 
G-P is largely driven by new product development, and the nonwovens industry has given it a great deal of room for initiatives in this segment. With two of its key markets—wet and dry wipes—seeing growth in the 6-7% range, G-P has been zeroing in on the needs of its consumers. While specifics were not given, Mr. Farren did say that the next six months would see significant new product introductions by G-P. These products will be both line extensions and revolutionary new products.
 
“We will continue to work to develop our nonwovens business,” Mr. Farren said. “We certainly have overtures and are working toward a number of new business opportunities. Nonwovens is definitely a business that Georgia-Pacific believes in.”
 
Georgia-Pacific acquired the nonwovens business when it purchased Fort James, Deerfield, IL, in early 2001. In January 2002, the company reaffirmed the importance of its nonwovens division when it designated it a separate business unit of the company. This unit includes the company’s nonwovens, retail, commercial and roll goods operations and is a part of the consumer products side of the company.
 
G-P’s consumer products division was separated from the building products side of the business in June 2002. The separation provides clear identity and focus for each business to develop strategically consistent with the fundamentals of their businesses while clarifying the makeup and strategic goals of each business to the investment community. At the time of this split, G-P indicated that the consumer products division would be spun off from the company in an initial public offering. In September, however, the company cancelled these plans, citing weakened market conditions as the catalyst for its decision. While these plans have yet to be revisited, executives are not ruling out a spin-off in the future, particularly when market conditions improve. Nevertheless, the nonwovens division, as well as the rest of G-P’s business, has not been impacted by these plans and operations are running smoothly, according to Mr. Farren.


Location: Atlanta, GA

Sales: $133 Million

Description: Key Personnel  
Mike Burandt, president, consumer business, North America; Bill Schultz, president, European consumer business; Paul Farren, vice president & general manager of Nonwovens; Michael Lecuit, sales manager, French Operation; Massimo Conforti, sales manager, Italian Operation; Mike Sprangers, sales manager, North America; Tom Kalupa, senior sales representative; John Rank, Sales Representative

Plants:
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Glen, France; Avigliano, Italy

ISO Status
Both U.S. plants ISO 9002 certified; Italy plant ISO 9002 certified; France plant ISO 9002 certified

Processes
Airlaid, carded  

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging.

Despite tough times in its core nonwovens market—airlaid—Georgia-Pacific remains committed to this technology. With nonwovens sales holding steady at $133 million, the company produces about 40,000 metric tons of airlaid material annually, 30% of which is consumed internally by its large consumer products business. The remaining 70% feeds feminine hygiene, tabletop and wipes markets globally.
 
While much of the industry is waiting to see how the planned surge of North American spunlaced capacity will impact the airlaid market, G-P executives refuse to let airlaid be discounted. “Spunlace is a very viable substrate that can satisfy several current and potential market demands,” said Paul Farren, vice president and general manager, nonwovens. “But, I don’t subscribe to the belief that the airlaid market is dead. Airlaid is a low-cost, extremely absorbent material and that combination provides tremendous value to our customers.  The airlaid process has the ability to utilize multiple combinations of fibers to satisfy required attributes.
 
In fact, Mr. Farren blamed capacity alone for many of the problems facing the airlaid industry. “We value cellulose-based technology. It’s just a matter of honing that technology. There are three things—service, dependability and speed to market—that we are delivering in value.”
 
As spunlaced nonwovens emerge as a more common substrate in disposable wipes, airlaid could potentially be impacted. This occurred in Europe several years ago, but North American airlaid is much stronger in terms of research and development than its European counterparts, according to Mr. Farren. “In fact, already many new markets for airlaid, that cannot be named, are emerging and G-P is ready to serve them,” he said. “You have to be bold and nimble to find markets where you can be unique and work with strategic customers to continue to satisfy their needs.”
 
Also helping G-P is its large consumer products business that uses nearly a third of its airlaid output annually. Since acquiring it in 2001 from Ft. James, G-P has proven its commitment to this operation. This was most evident in early 2002 when G-P designated nonwovens a separate business unit for the company which includes nonwovens, retail, commercial and roll goods operations and is a part of the consumer products side of the company.
 
During the past two years, G-P developed and then abandoned a plan to spin its consumer products business off from its building products business. The plan was temporarily shelved when executives feared that weak economic conditions in 2002 and into 2003 would lower its premium. Since then, building products sales have risen sharply, showing how each side could balance each other out and leading G-P to abandon its plan indefinitely. “Ultimately consumer products is where Georgia-Pacific wants to be, but building products has really done well.” Mr. Farren said. “Building products is excelling today, but we anticipate the same for consumer products shortly.”
 
After deciding not to separate the businesses, G-P has been selling off some of its business units to make it leaner. One of these units was the Golden Isles fluff pulp business which was purchased by Koch Industries in May 2004. While certain synergies exist between these two divisions, Mr. Farren said the sale didn’t result in any loss for nonwovens, which was treated like any other customer by its former sister division.
 
Now that G-P has streamlined its business and developed a clear plan for the future, the next step will be to back up its commitment to nonwovens with an investment. Last year, G-P adapted an existing airlaid line to use multibonded technology.  This emerging technology is preferred by several wipes converters and further demonstrates the airlaid process’ versatility.
 
G-P continues to review investment opportunity options.  Such an investment could benefit G-P’s entire consumer products business. “If you want to be a consumer product company, there is nothing better to be in than nonwovens. G-P is number one in tissue and towels, and nonwoven capability adds substrate versatility to our existing vast array of consumer offerings,” Mr. Farren said.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Sales: $139 Million

Description: Key Personnel  
Mike Burandt, president, consumer business, North America; Bill Shultz, president, European consumer business; Paul Farren, vice president & general manager Nonwovens; Remi Perin, sales manager, French Operation; Massimo Conforti, sales manager, Italian Operation; Mike Sprangers, sales manager, North America; Tom Kalupa, senior sales representative; John Rank, sales representative

Plants
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Glen, France; Avigliano, Italy

ISO Status:  Both U.S. plants ISO 9002 certified; Italy plant ISO 9002 certified; France plant ISO 9002 certified

Processes
Airlaid, carded  

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging.

A slight bump in U.S. sales brought total nonwovens sales to $139 million for Georgia-Pacific. The Atlanta, GA-based airlaid maker has been working hard on lowering costs, increasing volumes and boosting profitability, said vice president and general manager of nonwovens,  Paul Farren. “One thing we have really been doing is working closely with raw material suppliers to minimize our risk and hedge our bets against raw material prices,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, from a customer standpoint, G-P has been focusing on quality, dependability and the forging of strong relationships. “It sounds like a lot of general stuff but those fundamentals have helped us be successful,” Mr. Farren added.
 
A large part of G-P’s success has come through the development of market segments that are relatively new to airlaid. While Mr. Farren would not reveal specifics on these new markets, he did admit that they were born out of difficult situations. As high penetration levels have impacted airlaid’s growth in many of its key markets including wipes and feminine hygiene items, companies like G-P have been forced to look elsewhere for new opportunities.
 
One area Mr. Farren would discuss is the commercial wipes market where new substrates—both airlaid made in house and others purchased externally—are strengthening its business. “This isn’t really impacting our roll goods business because a lot of the substrates are bought on the outside,” Mr. Farren explained.
 
Currently, G-P’s nonwovens business comprises only airlaid and carded technology but as its use of other substrates in its consumer and commercial businesses broadens, a future investment could follow, Mr. Farren admitted. “G-P is a $20 billion business with a $8 billion consumer products segment and to think that it is not going to put resources into the nonwovens business would be wrong,” he said. “When a market requires an alternative technology, you can’t be a one-trick pony and still be really effective.”
 
For now, however, the company is focused on making sure its current equipment, both in Europe and the U.S., is state-of-the-art and operating at full efficiency. “We could grow our capacity by 25% just by improving the equipment we already have,” Mr. Farren explained. “Adding a whole new line brings with it debt and high costs, which can be tough to absorb if a market isn’t growing rapidly.”
 
Despite his company’s interest in alternative substrates, Mr. Farren dismisses the notion that airlaid is down and out and said projections indicated 5-8% annual growth. “I hope that people have gotten past that thinking, especially as airlaid continues to be used in more applications.”
 
Based on natural ingredients, airlaid has escaped many of the raw material challenges impacting nonwovens made from polypropylene and polyester and continues to be a cost efficient alternative to spunlace in the wipes market. As more spunlace capacity comes onstream in North America, increasing competition and driving prices lower, airlaid could lose some of this advantage.
 
“I am a little concerned that even slight price increases could bring the price of airlaid closer to spunlace,” Mr. Farren said  “Also, with all of this new capacity coming onstream in the spunlaced market, prices there could dip. This price dip could threaten us.”
 
G-P will continue to benefit from its role as a consumer products company. With 30% of its 40,000 tons of airlaid material being consumed by this business, the company will continue to base future plans-whether they include joint ventures, acquisitions or capital investments—on activity witnessed on the consumer side. “We are already organized to grow through multiple technologies,” Mr. Farren said. “It’s just a matter of determining in which direction we want to go.”
Location: Atlanta, GA

Sales: $145 Million

Description: Key Personnel  
Mike Burandt, president, Consumer Business, North America; Bill Shultz, president, European Consumer Business; Kathy Walters, president, Commercial Business; Remi Perin, sales manager, French Operation; Massimo Conforti, sales manager, Italian Operation; Mike Sprangers, sales manager, North America; Tom Kalupa, Senior sales representative; John Rank, sales representative

Plants
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Glen, France; Avigliano, Italy

ISO Status: Both U.S. plants ISO 9002 certified; Italy plant ISO 9002 certified; France plant ISO 9002 certified

Processes  
Airlaid, carded  

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging

Under new ownership this year is Georgia-Pacific. In November, the company was purchased by Koch Industries, a multinational conglomerate that had already owned G-P’s cellulose business as well as fiber producer Invista, among other things. “It’s a new owner but they’ve maintained G-P as a total separate subsidiary,” said vice president and general manager of nonwovens, Paul Farren. “It’s almost like a holding company. G-P has its own board of directors, president, CEO, etc.”
 
Meanwhile, G-P’s nonwovens business, which centers on airlaid technology, has continued to perform well by focusing on improving its production and reducing costs. “Like everyone else, we are managing as well as possible with the raw material price increases by aligning ourselves with the right partners,” Mr. Farren said.
 
Benefiting G-P were existing contracts, put in place before raw material prices escalated, which kept their impact to G-P under check. Additionally, G-P has been successful in unearthing new market segments for its airlaid technology that had been using other materials. “These markets were using technology that was more expensive than airlaid and found that pulp worked as well or better for their applications at a lower cost,” Mr. Farren said. “With converters under pressure they are using all different types of substrates and raw materials to satisfy their needs at lower costs. When business is challenged, people are more willing to run trials and revamp businesses. As they have been looking for other things, they have opened up some nice market segments.”
 
Meanwhile, wipes and other traditional markets for G-P’s airlaid business, continue to hold good positions even though they aren’t growing as dramatically as they once had. “What has helped us is that we have some good customers that still use airlaid in their wipes, allowing us to maintain that leg of the business while growing in businesses that have not historically been there before,” Mr. Farren said.
 
Additionally, G-P’s role as a user of a portion of its airlaid materials continues to benefit its business. Currently, about 30% of its output targets its own consumer products, including away-from-home products and tabletop applications.
 
G-P currently manufactures about 40,000 tons of airlaid nonwovens at its Green Bay, WI manufacturing plant. In recent years, the company has not been aggressive about new capacity investment, choosing to debottleneck and improve its existing lines rather than build new ones. However, with its new ownership in check and new markets for airlaid opening up, Mr. Farren hinted that it could be time for new capacity.
 
“Koch has been very willing to invest in the (G-P Cellulose) Brunswick operation and it’s clear that they are interested in growing the businesses they acquired,” he said. “Nonwovens has a lot of opportunities to expand on the synergies between all of these businesses. But, at this point, I can’t say that everyone has sat down and thought through all of this.”
Location: Atlanta, GA

Sales: $150 Million

Description: Personnel
Mitsuo Kanno, president; Minoro Tanaka, managing director; Yoshiaki Mizutani, director; Kazuo Hamada, managing director

Plants
Shiga, Tokyo, Japan

Processes
Resin bonded, needlepunched, thermal bonded, wetlaid, spunlaced, meltblown, tackspun

Major Markets
Apparel interlinings, apparel insulations, air filters, plaster bases, automotive mats, automotive headliners, batter electrode separators

The gross sales of Japanese nonwovens producer Japan Vilene were ¥56.3 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007, reflecting an increase of 8.6% compared to the year before. By sector, apparel material sales decreased 8.9% to ¥4.7 billion; automotive materials increased 25.3% to ¥23.9 billion; automotive materials increased 25.3% to ¥23.9 billion; air filtration media gained 2.1% to reach ¥8.7 billion; medical and consumer materials decreased slightly (0.2%) to ¥7 billion and industrial material sales—which now include conventional electrical materials—decreased 3% to ¥1.6 billion.
 
Of the company’s gross sales of ¥56.3 billion in 2006, ¥36.8 billion were domestic sales and ¥19.5 were international. Domestic sales decreased 1.8% to ¥38.6 billion wile international sales increased 35.8% to ¥19.5 billion. Leading international growth was North America, where Japan Vilene was able to grow its business 58% to ¥13.4 billion, led largely by supply to the North American automotives market. Additionally, Asian sales increased 2.6% to ¥5.7 billion.
 
In terms of new technology, Japan Vilene has developed a component of proton-exchange membrane cell (PEFC) and it is currently applying this technology to a number of application areas. One area is electrode battery separators where the technology is applied to mulled carbon particle and resin. The carbon fibers typically used for the electrodes have a number of drawbacks including higher costs and fragility but the technology being offered by Japan Vilene is flexible and lower cost.
 
Another component being developed by Japan Vilene was an intake filter for the PEFC that fully uses the technology of Japan Vilene. In terms of PEFC as a next generation energy source, may enterprises are concerned and involved with the worldwide development competition. Japane Vilene expects nonwovens with PEC to be among its key products of the future.

Plants
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Glen, France; Avigliano, Italy

Processes  
Airlaid, carded

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging

Under new ownership is Georgia-Pacific. In November 2005, the company was purchased by Koch Industries, a multinational conglomerate that had already owned G-P’s cellulose business as well as fiber producer Invista, among other things.  Meanwhile, G-P’s nonwovens business, which centers on airlaid technology, has continued to perform well by focusing on improving its production and reducing costs despite challenging raw material prices.
 
Benefiting G-P were existing contracts, put in place before raw material prices escalated, which kept their impact to G-P under check. Additionally, G-P has been successful in unearthing new market segments for its airlaid technology that had been using other materials. These markets were typically using technology that was more expensive than airlaid but G-P was able to show how pulp can perform just as well at a lower cost, according to executives.
Location: Atlanta, GA

Sales: $150 Million

Description: Plants
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Glen, France; Avigliano, Italy

Processes  
Airlaid, carded

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging

Under new ownership is Georgia-Pacific. In November 2005, the company was purchased by Koch Industries, a multinational conglomerate that had already owned G-P’s cellulose business as well as fiber producer Invista, among other things.  
 
Meanwhile, G-P’s nonwovens business, which centers on airlaid technology, has continued to perform well by focusing on improving its production and reducing costs despite challenging raw material prices.
 
Benefiting G-P were existing contracts, put in place before raw material prices escalated, which kept their impact to G-P under check. Additionally, G-P has been successful in unearthing new market segments for its airlaid technology that had been using other materials. These markets were typically using technology that was more expensive than airlaid but G-P was able to show how pulp can perform just as well at a lower cost, according to executives.
Location: ATLANTA, GA


Sales: $150 Million


Description: Plants
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Avigliano, Italy

Processes
Airlaid, carded

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging

Under new ownership is Georgia-Pacific. In November 2005, the company was purchased by Koch Industries, a multinational conglomerate that had already owned G-P’s cellulose business as well as fiber producer Invista, among other things.

Meanwhile, G-P’s nonwovens business, which centers on airlaid technology, has continued to perform well by focusing on improving its production and reducing costs despite challenging raw material prices. According to reports, G-P’s nonwovens group continues to be a major supplier of airlaid for wet wipes, particularly in tubs and flexible packages. Containing about 80% cellulose content, airlaid is considered to be more Earth-friendly than nonwovens based on synthetic fibers. The group continues to work on new resin binder systems that may have implications for the latest bathroom and other category wipes.

G-P has a history of success in unearthing new market segments for its airlaid technology that had been using other materials. These markets were typically using technology that was more expensive than airlaid but G-P was able to show how pulp can perform just as well at a lower cost, according to executives.
Location: Atlanta, GA

Sales: $152 million

Description: Plants
Green Bay, WI (two facilities); Glen, France; Avigliano, Italy

Processes  
Airlaid, carded

Brand Names
Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets
Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent cores, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging

While best known for its paper and tissue businesses in both the retail and away from home sectors, Atlanta, GA-based Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s most successful users of airlaid technology. Its output targets both its own end product business as well as external businesses in the baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue and meat packaging segments.
Meanwhile, G-P’s nonwovens business, which centers on airlaid technology, has continued to perform well by focusing on improving its production and reducing costs despite challenging raw material prices.
Benefitting G-P were existing contracts, put in place before raw material prices escalated, which kept their impact to G-P under check. Additionally, G-P has been successful in unearthing new market segments for its airlaid technology that had been using other materials. These markets were typically using technology that was more expensive than airlaid but G-P was able to show how pulp can perform just as well at a lower cost, according to executives.
G-P has also been hard at work improving its environmental profile, an effort it was rewarded for this year through its Environmental Excellence Awards.
 “Across Georgia-Pacific, employees are using innovative approaches to help reduce our environmental impact and become a more sustainable business,” said Jim Hannan, chief executive officer and president. “By continuously improving environmental performance in our operations, we are creating more value for the company and the communities where we operate. Our Environmental Excellence Awards help us recognize projects and programs that are leading the way.”
Among the successful efforts were reduction in emissions, improved wastewater treatment systems and improved energy efficiency.

Atlanta, GA
www.gp.com
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $152 million

Plants: Green Bay, WI (two facilities)

Processes: Airlaid, carded

Brands: Airtex, Dritex

Major Markets: Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent cores, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging

The year 2012 has been all about divestments for Georgia-Pacific (GP). In January, the Lucart Group finalized the takeover of GP’s tissue and airlaid business in Italy, changing the company’s name to Airtissue srl. Additionally, GP finalized the sale of its European tissue business to SCA in 2012. According to executives, consumer tissue represented 60% of European tissue sales while away-from-home sales represented 30% and personal care products like cleansing pads and wipes accounted for about 5%.

Still, GP, which has been owned by Koch Industries since late 2005, continues to operate a sizable business in North America. While it is certainly best known for its paper and tissue businesses in both the retail and away-from-home sectors, the Atlanta, GA-based company is one of the world’s most successful users of airlaid technology. Its output targets both its own end product business as well as external businesses in the baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue and meat packaging segments.

Meanwhile, GP’s nonwovens business, which centers on airlaid technology, has continued to perform well by improving its production and reducing costs despite challenging raw material prices.

The company benefited from existing contracts, put in place before raw material prices escalated, which kept their impact in check. Additionally, Georgia-Pacific has been successful in unearthing new market segments for its airlaid technology that had been using other materials. These markets were typically using technology that was more expensive than airlaid but the company was able to show how pulp can perform just as well at a lower cost, according to executives.

Successful efforts included reduction in emissions, improved wastewater treatment systems and improved energy efficiency.
Atlanta, GA
www.gp.com
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $155 million
 
Plants: Green Bay, WI (two facilities)
 
Processes: Airlaid, carded
 
Brands: Airtex, Dritex
 
Major Markets: Baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent cores, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue, meat packaging
 
After spending 2012 in divestment mode, Georgia-Pacific (GP) is poised to make a pretty significant investment later this year. In April, the company said it would acquire fellow player in the airlaid and pulp segments Buckeye Technologies. In August, the acquisition was approved as a merger by Buckeye shareholders, who will receive $37.50 per share under the terms of the agreement.
 
“Buckeye Technologies’ competitive assets and capabilities strongly complement Georgia-Pacific’s existing cellulose business and products. The talented employees, innovation capabilities, advanced technologies, and specialty fibers and nonwovens businesses of Buckeye Technologies will provide a significant platform for continued growth and success,” says Jim Hannan, CEO and president, Georgia-Pacific.
 
On the nonwovens front, Buckeye will add manufacturing capabilities in North Carolina and Germany to G-P’s existing business. Buckeye’s total nonwovens sales were $228 million in 2012.
 
A maker of airlaid nonwovens for external and internal usage, GP sold its Italian tissue and airlaid buisnesses in January 2012 to the Lucart Group and finalized the sale of its European tissue business to SCA in 2012. Still, GP, which has been owned by Koch Industries since late 2005, continues to operate a sizable business in North America.
 
While it is certainly best known for its paper and tissue businesses in both the retail and away-from-home sectors, the Atlanta, GA-based company also is one of the world’s most successful users of airlaid technology. Its output targets both its own end product business as well as external businesses in the baby wipes, industrial and food service wipes, feminine hygiene, absorbent core, tabletop, medical, moist toilet tissue and meat packaging segments.
 
Meanwhile, GP’s nonwovens business, which centers on airlaid technology, has continued to perform well by improving its production and reducing costs despite challenging raw material prices. The company benefi ted from existing contracts, put in place before raw material prices escalated, which kept their impact in check.
 
Additionally, GP has been successful in unearthing new market segments for its airlaid technology that had been using other materials. These markets were typically using technology that was more expensive than airlaid but the company was able to show how pulp can perform just as well at a lower cost, according to executives. Successful efforts included reduction in emissions, improved wastewater treatment systems and improved energy efficiency.