Nonwovens Industry
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Kimberly-Clark


Location: Dallas, TX

Sales: $850 million

Description: Key Personnel
Wayne Sanders, chairman and CEO; Thomas Falk, president and COO; Robert Abernathy, group president, Business to Business Sector; Sean Erwin, president, Nonwoven Fabrics Operations and Technology; Rosalind Brewer, vice president, Nonwoven Fabrics Business

Nonwovens Manufacturing Facilities
Corinth, MS; Balfour, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Lexington, NC and LaGrange, GA; other facilities in process

Processes
Spunbond, melt blown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled and Coform

Brand Names
Accord fabrics, Blockit protective fabric, Breeze facemask media, Cyclean filtration media, Dustop protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Intrepid filtration media, Noah protective fabric, Powerloft filtration media, Ultimet filtration media

Major Markets
Electrical, filtration, furniture, hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings, and wet wipes
 
For Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX, a company that distinguishes itself by being a large consumer products company as well as a roll goods producer, 2001 was an excellent year. While a large portion of its nonwovens production is consumed by its end use businesses, the company freely focuses its external roll goods business on high performance products and specialty markets. Concentrating on these high performance products, the external roll goods business achieved record results for 2001.
 
“A lot of our success in external roll good markets is due to our research focus on value added materials developed from our proprietary technologies,” explained J.C. Sneyd, director of marketing and sales, Nonwoven Fabrics Business. “We have strategically decided to emphasize high performance materials where advancements are readily perceived by the fabric’s end users.”
 
While many companies involved in nonwovens sales are going through lean times, K-C is reporting positive results that company management attributes to a number of factors. Chief among these factors is a strong sense of industry trends generated through its consumer products business, a company history ripe with technology and innovation and a continued focus on research and development. Within the past two years, the nonwovens industry has seen several companies scale back core re­search and development in an effort to trim costs, but Mr. Sneyd maintained that core research and development remains the key driving force behind the growth of K-C’s roll goods business.
 
“Maintenance of core R&D, going beyond minor incremental product ‘tweaks,’ is critical to fueling future growth,” Mr. Sneyd said, adding that this is not necessarily the story for the nonwovens industry as a whole. “We continue to see significant growth in our market segments, all being fueled by our investments in innovative technology. Companies scaling back could place themselves in danger of not realizing the innovation needed for future growth.”
 
In December 2001, K-C formed a new Business to Business entity composed of the K-C Professional, Healthcare, Neenah Paper, Technical Paper and Nonwoven Fabrics Business Units. Comprising nearly 25% of the company’s total sales, the new division is being led by group president Robert Abernathy.
 
The reorganization is expected to benefit all the component sectors, allowing them to realize synergies in going to market.” Mr. Sneyd said. “There is more interface between businesses and learning that is benefiting all functional areas.”
 
One key area for K-C’s Nonwoven Fabrics Business in recent years has been filtration. The dynamics of this segment allow customers to appreciate the innovative and differentiated products that K-C has to offer. In fact, K-C’s presence in the filtration market has become so sound that end use customers actually recognize K-C media in filtration products. Among the brand names are Intrepid, for commercial, industrial and residential heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications, and Powerloft and Fathom, for commercial liquid applications. All three of these products have demonstrated significant benefits to the end user including air cleanliness, less filter changes and cost savings. “We hear good things about our media’s performance and we can see it in its successful growth,” Mr. Sneyd explained. “Our customers tell us our approach to the market is unique and our media brand identity along with superior performance has contributed to their success.”
 
In terms of technology, K-C does not rely on borrowed, off-the shelf manufacturing platforms and instead creates its own equipment for producing nonwovens. This allows the company to create proprietary products that may not be readily challenged by competitive substitutes. While its spunbond, melt blown, SMS, BCW, stretchable, hydroentangled and Coform technologies are readily seen in the marketplace, K-C does not comment on its manufacturing capabilities or its future plans for expansion and improvements. One thing that Mr. Sneyd was able to reveal, however, is the company’s continued commitment to improving its technology. “Honing of capabilities and improving our products is something we do constantly,” he said. “We are constantly improving our base manufacturing.”
 
Looking globally, the majority of K-C’s external roll goods business has historically been conducted within North America. This is starting to change as the business and its distributors increase shipments to Europe, Asia and South America. Some of this increase in international sales has even resulted from European customers approaching K-C based solely on brand recognition. “We believe our branded products are being recognized and wanted in areas beyond our initial target markets,” said Mr. Sneyd.
 
On the consumer products side of K-C’s business, the company continues to benefit from a strong position in a number of personal care segments. Last year, the company’s personal care business, which includes Huggies diapers, Pull-Ups training pants, Kotex feminine hygiene products and Depend and Poise adult incontinence items, achieved sales of $3.27 billion. Sales in the segment have been boosted recently by the acquisition of Italian baby diaper brand Lines, a new diaper manufacturing plant in the Czech Republic and, most recently, the acquisition of its remaining stake in K-C Australia. K-C Australia, which has operated as a joint venture between K-C and Amcor Limited for four decades, is the leading manufacturer of tissue, personal care and healthcare items in Australia and New Zealand with annual sales of approximately $400 million.
 
K-C’s consumer products business has also benefited by the surge of nonwovens–based products seen in many segments of the consumer products market in recent years. In April, the company launched The Neat Sheet, a water-repellent, cloth-like ground cover that is an alternative to a bulky beach blanket, bed sheet or tarp. It is big enough to comfortably seat a family of four yet small and light enough to be stored in a beach bag, backpack or picnic basket. This product was reportedly created to meet an unmet need in the consumer market that was first realized during consumer focus groups for Huggies Little Swimmers disposable swim pants.
 
K-C continues to make strides in its flagship business in the personal care segment. During the past 12 months, the company has announced improvements to both its Huggies baby diaper and Pull-Up training pants lines. In July, K-C developed a first-of-its kind diaper with all-around stretch for a more secure and comfortable fit for its Huggies Supreme diaper line. The diaper features a stretchable outer cover, a stretch waistband and stretch ears and large tabs to make fastening a diaper easier. In April, the company launched an improved Pull-Ups training pant that is 30% thinner for an improved fit under children’s clothing and features bolder, more colorful graphics for an enhanced gender-specific look. In short, the new Pull-Ups now look and feel more like “big kid” underwear than ever before. This latest modification is just one of many improvements K-C has made to its Pull-Ups product since introducing them and subsequently creating the market for disposable training pants in 1989. Since the original introduction, Pull-Ups have been improved through the addition of leak guards, designs that fade when wet and the introduction of larger sizes for children who toilet train later.
 
Looking toward the future, K-C will focus on several strategies to continue success in its external roll goods business. For one, the company will continue to capitalize on market-unique, K-C-developed technologies. Additionally, K-C will continue to explore branding opportunities that have proven to be successful and created long term loyalty among its customers.
 
“We continue to enjoy exceptionally long-term relationships with our customers,” explained Mr. Sneyd. “Our focus has been to choose segments that value product performance, continue to innovate and partner to make our customers successful.”   "
Location: Dallas, TX

Sales: $900 million

Description: Key Personnel
Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Robert Abernathy, group president, Healthcare & Nonwovens; Sean Erwin, president, Nonwoven Fabrics Operations and Technology; Rosalind Brewer, vice president, Nonwoven Fabrics Business

Plants
Corinth, MS; Balfour, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI

Processes
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled and Coform

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Lexington, NC and LaGrange, GA; other facilities in process

Brand Names
Accord fabrics, Blockit protective fabric, Breeze facemask media, Cyclean filtration media, Dustop protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Fathom filtration media, Intrepid filtration media, Matrix protective fabric, Noah protective fabric, Powerloft filtration media and QuieTech acoustic media

Major Markets
Electrical, filtration, acoustics, furniture, hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

Reporting a good year in 2002 was Kimberly-Clark’s external roll goods business, headquartered in Roswell, GA. The company achieved growth in all of its target markets. Highlighting growth were the air and liquid filtration, acoustics and delivery systems markets.
 
“We were able to meet projections in almost every case because of our product uniqueness,” explained J.C. Sneyd, director of marketing and sales for the nonwovens business. “Our focus is unique and patentable technology.”
 
Currently, about 15% of K-C’s nonwovens output is sold externally while the remainder is used internally to fuel its large, multinational consumer products business, which includes such brand names as Huggies infant care products, Kotex feminine hygiene items and Depend adult incontinence devices. While external sales are clearly dwarfed by consumer goods, the company still considers it an important growth business.
 
This priority is evident by the amount of attention paid to branding in the nonwovens division. K-C’s roll goods brands include Accord, Blockit, Breeze, Cyclean, Fathom, Intrepid, Noah, Powerloft and QuieTech.  By successfully branding its products, K-C has been able to establish strong reputations in its target markets.
 
“We don’t look at ourselves as just a nonwovens supplier,” Mr. Sneyd explained. “We are actually in the filtration business. We are in the acoustics business. We are in the sorbents market. Any product that we make and sell is tested by us in its end user state.”
 
Critical to K-C’s roll good success has been its filtration business. The Intrepid brand for commercial, industrial and residential HVAC applications as well as Powerloft and Fathom for commercial liquid applications, have been boosted in recent months with line extensions that have demonstrated significant benefits to the end user including air cleanliness, fewer filter changes and cost savings. This market has clearly responded well to K-C’s practice of innovation and product development.
 
Likewise, in the acoustics segment, a market K-C entered only two years ago, the company has profited from paying attention to industry standards and providing efficient products to its customers.  K-C has also followed a brand strategy similar to that in filtration, where it has notable success.  In both the filtration and acoustics markets K-C products have become recognized standards by complying with performance guides.
 
“We also like to target industries with trade associations that have well-developed standards,” Mr. Sneyd explained. “This provides us with a means to test products to gauge performance.”
 
Other areas being targeted by K-C are the delivery systems and sorbent segments where the company is relying on its ability to meet proven standards, according to Mr. Sneyd. “What we are basically doing is filling in the matrix,” he explained. “We are applying what works in one portion of our business to other areas.”
 
These practices have provided the K-C roll goods business with wide-scale success across the U.S., the region where K-C has focused much of its marketing efforts. While international markets have not been as heavily targeted, the company is starting to see growth occurring outside of the U.S., as domestic customers with foreign operations or international customers with knowledge of K-C’s branded products, show unsolicited interest in the company. “There are so many opportunities for growth showing up in the U.S. and internationally that we are pressed to have the time to address them all,” Mr. Sneyd explained.
 
Speaking of new markets, K-C’s consumer products business has brought nonwovens to several new areas in recent years. While the biggest portion of K-C’s business continues to be disposable hygiene items such as Huggies disposable diapers and training pants, Kotex feminine hygiene products, Depend adult incontinence items and Kimguard medical fabrics, smaller markets including ground covers, wipes and changing pads have helped bring more nonwoven materials to the consumer.
 
For instance, in July the company announced that disposable changing pads, featuring an absorbent top layer and a non-slip bottom layer, would be rolling out to grocery stores throughout the summer under the Huggies brand name. Designed to provide parents with a portable, clean changing area, this product is one of many that responds to consumer needs for convenient on-the-go items.
 
Another product boosting K-C’s consumer business is The Neat Sheet, a water-repellent, cloth-like ground covering that is an alternative to a bulky beach blanket, bed sheet or tarp. It is big enough to comfortably seat a family of four yet small and light enough to be stored in a beach bag, backpack or picnic basket.
 
While new product lines are an important strategy for K-C’s Consumer Products business, it is not ignoring its core businesses by any means. In June, the company announced improvements to its line of Kotex sanitary napkins. This upgrade included the development of three new products—Kotex BodyFit Ultra Thin pads, Kotex Ultra Thin Long pads with Wings and Kotex Lightdays PursePaks. The tapered design and adjustable wings in The BodyFit Ultra Thin pad allow women to wear their favorite style of underwear all month long. Meanwhile, the Ultra Thin Long pads with Wings meet consumer demands for ultra-thin pads that are longer and have wings. In addition to the new product, the existing ranges of Kotex products will be updated with K-C’s proprietary Leak Lock system, featuring technology consisting of new absorbent structures that give pads a dual-layer design. The newly introduced products also feature this system.
 
In K-C’s childcare segment, Pull-Ups training pants and Huggies premium diapers both received upgrades this year. In April, Huggies Convertibles were introduced. This product, which was an extension of Huggies Ultratrim and Huggies Supreme diapers, can be put on like a pant or used like a traditional diaper. Likewise, in May, a new training pant allowing the same flexibility was introduced. The inclusion of easy-open sides was the latest of many improvements K-C has made to its training pants product since inventing the category in 1989. Since the original introduction, Pull-Ups have been improved with the addition of leak guards, designs that fade when wet and larger sizes as well as through thinner designs, stretchable outer coverings and bold graphics to make the products better resemble regular underwear.
 
Also receiving attention this year is the baby wipes segment. In April, K-C announced two innovations to its baby wipes line in North America—Huggies Newborn Ultra-Gentle baby wipes and Huggies Original wipes in Pop-Up tubs—as well as an expansion of Huggies Cotton-Touch baby wipes in Europe. The Newborn wipes are made from an exclusive K-C basesheet quilted for soft and gentle cleaning. This product is alcohol and fragrance free and enriched with aloe and vitamin E. The wipes in the Pop-Up tubs are perforated and dispense one at a time—to allow for easy refilling. The dispenser has a soft, flexible opening that keeps wipes moist. In Europe, the cotton-touch wipes are nearly 50% thicker than other wipes, thanks to K-C’s proprietary Coform technology.
 
While these innovative products have provided a nice boost to K-C’s business, the company does admit there is room for improvement. In announcing its second quarter results in July, K-C unveiled a new business plan under which the company would strive for annual sales growth of 3-5%. To achieve this, K-C will center investments around faster-growing products such as training pants and wipes, which currently comprise about 15% of sales, while trying to sustain strong positions in diapers and facial tissues. Additionally, K-C will fix underperforming businesses such as European personal care and North American commercial washroom products.
 
K-C’s roll goods business, which is a part of the company’s Business to Business entity along with K-C Professional, K-C Healthcare, Neenah Paper and Technical Paper, will continue to rely on research when developing new markets and growth opportunities. The unit wants to answer the question “why” before it enters a new market. “We know that there is a reason why people should buy from us so that when we enter a market we can easily pass that knowledge on to the customer,” Mr. Sneyd remarked.
 
As for the global nonwovens industry beyond Kimberly-Clark, Mr. Sneyd believes there is a considerable amount of belt tightening amidst a weakened economy. These cost cutting measures have impacted everything from research and development efforts to participation in industry-sponsored events. “This is causing some companies to shrink and narrow their focus into commodity markets,” he explained.
 
Speaking more personally, however, Mr. Sneyd said that K-C’s roll goods business has been able to evade harsh economic conditions during the past couple of years. While several nonwovens industry segments are achieving modest 3-4% growth, K-C’s has been achieving double-digit  growth in its targeted roll good segments. “We have seen some weak economic conditions but our targeted segments have basically been good for us,” he explained. “A lot of this can be attributed to our products and our technology.”"
Location: Dallas, TX

Sales: $925 MILLION

Description: Nonwoven Fabrics Headquarters
Roswell, GA 30076
Telephone: 770-587-8000
 
Key Personnel
Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Dudley Lehman, group president, Business to Business Sector; Rosalind Brewer, president, Global Nonwovens Operations and Technology; Mark Foreste, vice president, Nonwoven Fabrics Business

Plants
Corinth, MS; Balfour, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Lexington, NC and LaGrange, GA; other facilities in progress

Processes
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled and Coform

Brand Names
Accord fabrics, Blockit protective fabric, Breeze facemask media, Cyclean filtration media, Dustop protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Fathom filtration media, Intrepid filtration media, Matrix protective fabric, Noah protective fabric, Powerloft filtration media and QuieTech acoustic media,

Major Markets
Filtration, acoustics, furniture, hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

2003 was described as a good year for Kimberly-Clark’s external roll goods business. The Roswell, GA-based division achieved double-digit growth, according to executives who cited market recovery as well as geographical expansion as main growth drivers. “Business has been excellent, particularly in nonwovens,” said J.C. Sneyd, director of marketing and sales for the nonwovens division. “All of our markets have done well for us.”
 
Among the markets K-C targets are filtration, delivery systems, or wipes, protective products, sorbents and acoustics. Sales to these areas comprise about 15% of its nonwovens capacity. The rest fuels the Dallas-based company’s large consumer products business including Huggies disposable diapers and training pants, Depend adult incontinence items and Kotex feminine hygiene products. While the company is well known for its consumer goods, which also includes a large tissue business, its nonwovens business has not been ignored. In fact, the company is well known in the nonwovens industry as an innovator.
 
“We are not interested in participating in commodity businesses competing solely on offering the lowest-priced product,” Mr. Sneyd explained. “This has allowed us to grow on the strength of our unique and patented products across the board.”
 
One of K-C’s larger roll goods businesses is filtration, where K-C has carved out a strong performance segment based on its patent estate surrounding barrier materials.  K-C’s filtration brand names include Intrepid on the air side; Fathom and Powerloft in liquid.
 
Filtration is currently one of the largest growth markets for nonwovens in the U.S. but, aware that the U.S. is not the world, K-C has already initiated international sales networks globally.
 
“We will always continue to enhance the technology and provide the attributes needed,” Mr. Sneyd said. “The biggest need, of course, is for better performance without incurring extra costs.”
 
Another large segment is K-C’s delivery systems business, which largely serves the consumer wipes market. K-C participates here as both a contract manufacturer and a seller of roll goods, attacking markets that do not compete directly with its consumer products. Nonwoven wipes continue to grow on the heels of new market proliferation with new applications for wipes being developed daily. While the success of the wipes market has attracted a significant amount of new capacity, both existing and planned, K-C has been able to differentiate itself with a proprietary hydroentanglement process. This technology provides attributes superior to the commodity-grade wipes in the market, according to Mr. Sneyd.
 
A market in which K-C has been involved for 20 years, sorbents, continues to grow from a strong base of loyal customers that are also growing. K-C purposely has not expanded its customer base in this segment, enjoying the excellent growth rates of its existing customers with well established brands.
 
A more recent interest, acoustics has benefited from K-C’s efforts to engineer products that can filter specific sounds at certain wave lengths. In a market that is often dominated by unsophisticated, shoddy materials, K-C’s technology has allowed it to offer innovative materials to both building and transportation customers.
 
K-C’s external nonwovens business is a part of its Business to Business division, which also includes the K-C Professional, Healthcare, Neenah Paper and Technical Paper businesses and comprises nearly 25% of total sales. Last month, K-C finalized plans to spin off several of these businesses as part of an effort to strengthen its focus on health and hygiene. The spin-off of Neenah Paper, Technical Paper and pulp and timber operations in Canada is scheduled to occur by the end of this year. After the deal, K-C will become one of the new company’s largest customers through a long-term pulp supply agreement.
 
Other changes at the company include the appointment of Dudley Lehman, formerly the head of infant care for North America, who was tapped to lead the B2B segment in January as part of corporate-wide organizational and management changes. At that time, former B2B head Robert Abernathy was chosen to lead the newly created Developing and Emerging Markets business unit. This unit was established as part of a new organizational structure designed to increase the company’s speed in translating consumer and customer insights into innovative products, streamline its decision making and deliver cost reductions on a sustainable basis. Under the new organization, K-C’s North American and European Personal Care groups as well as its Consumer Tissue businesses were combined under North Atlantic management teams. A Developing and Emerging Markets business unit was formed to grow these businesses in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
 
These organizational changes are another step in the company’s global business plan announced in July 2003. The company is striving for annual sales growth of 3-5%. To achieve this, K-C is centering investments on faster-growing products such as training pants and wipes.
  
Key to this plan is brand building. At its annual meeting in April, chairman and CEO Thomas Falk discussed at length the emotional connection certain consumers have with certain brands. In fact, Mr. Falk said, an emotional connection between parents and Huggies diapers was a key factor in making it the number one U.S. diaper brand in just three decades.
  
Some of this success, however can also be attributed to product advancements; K-C is constantly announcing improvements to all of its products lines.  In April 2004, this meant the addition of gender-specific designs, a gender-specific absorbent structure, compressed packaging to GoodNites disposable underpants and the addition of Disney designs to Pull-Ups training pants and Little Swimmers swim pants. Around this time, K-C also added a second size to its Huggies Convertibles Diaper Pants, an infant care product that can be put on like pants or used like a traditional diaper. This product, a first-of-its-kind innovation, has already captured nearly a one point share of the $4 billion U.S. diaper market. Huggies Convertibles were originally available in a single size for babies weighing more than 27 pounds but are now available to babies over 22 pounds. Turning toward K-C’s more traditional diaper products, recent improvements include the incorporation of Triple Leak Protection in all of its mainline diapers and upgrades to leg cuffs in Huggies Supreme diapers for a softer snugger fit.
 
These improvements and others like them have contributed to K-C’s lead in the diaper category.  For the most recent quarter ended June 30, 2004, personal care sales rose more than 4% on improved performance of Pull-Ups, Little Swimmers and a 3% increase in shipments of Huggies. "
Location: Dallas, TX

Sales: $1.15 billion

Description: Key Personnel
Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Dudley Lehman, group president, Business to Business Sector; Rosalind Brewer, president, Global Nonwovens Operations and Technology; Mark Foreste, vice president, Nonwoven Fabrics Business

Plants
Corinth, MS; Balfour, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Lexington, NC and LaGrange, GA; other facilities in progress

Processes
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled and Coform

Brand Names
Accord fabrics, Blockit protective fabric, Breeze facemask media, Cyclean filtration media, Dustop protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Fathom filtration media, Intrepid filtration media, Matrix protective fabric, Noah protective fabric, Powerloft filtration media and QuieTech acoustic media

Major Markets
Filtration, acoustics, furniture, hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

Solid 2004 sales growth realized by Kimberly-Clark's Nonwoven Fabrics Business helped one of the world’s largest nonwoven producers maintain its leadership position in the industry.
 
“It was a very good year for the roll good fabrics business,” commented J.C. Sneyd, director of marketing and sales for K-C’s nonwovens division. “We realized a year where our key market segments recorded volume growth surpassing INDA’s industry projections.”
 
Mr. Sneyd attributed the company’s success to the fact that it participates almost exclusively in select markets that lend themselves to its unique products. “We typically do not pursue commodity product areas and tend to favor markets where our offerings typically can’t be duplicated. Our growth strategy is based on these very unique products and processes.” He added that K-C’s few existing commodity roll good products were in line with industry growth rates exhibiting nominal increases in the last year.
 
The percentage of K-C’s total nonwovens capacity targeting these external markets remains at about 12-15% while 85-88% is used internally to supply the company’s huge consumer products business including leading brands such as Huggies disposable dia­pers and training pants, Depend adult incontinence products and Kotex sanitary protection items. The ratio of K-C’s nonwovens usage to internal/external business areas has been fairly steady for quite a few years in spite of capacity increases and the fact that its machines are kept evergreen.
 
As for K-C’s Business to Business division—which encompasses its health care, professional, roll goods and global operations groups—the company has worked hard to mesh objectives and goals with strategies and measures. The group is moving forward and the spin-off of Neenah Paper, Technical Paper and pulp and timber operations in Canada was completed in November 2004. K-C has leveraged its proprietary nonwovens technology in the B2B business area through a new portfolio of high margin wiping products. For instance, WypAll towels are designed to perform better than cloth, at a fraction of the cost, making them an ideal replacement for cloth rags.
 
When it comes to new products from K-C’s consumer end, it has been another prolific year. Kleenex Moist Cloths, based on proprietary hydroknit technology, were launched in March. The nonwoven cloths are thick, soft, disposable hand and face cloths created for use around the home. The product provides an innovative solution to an unmet consumer need for a disposable alternative to a washcloth or wet paper towel—one that is more substantial and easier to use than traditional hand and face wipes. Kleenex Moist Cloths are large and hand-sized (8.5 inches x 8.25 inches) and feature a mild, alcohol-free formulation that is gentle on the skin. Consumer feedback led Kimberly-Clark to create a facial tissue-type carton for Kleenex Moist Cloths rather than the traditional, portable tub container used for regular wipes.
 
Also in the Personal Care sector, Pull-Ups Training Pants have been redesigned and now feature new designs and a choice of products. For the majority of parents who prefer toilet training aids that provide positive reinforcement, K-C has added learning designs to the inside and outside of its pants-fun graphics that fade when the product is wet, signaling an accident. For parents who prefer an alternate approach, the Pull-Ups brand also offers pants that keep a child dry but make him or her feel wet temporarily.
 
K-C’s new Huggies Bath & Baby products illustrate the company’s recently augmented efforts to build strategic partnerships and thereby expand capabilities, reduce costs and speed time to market for innovations. The line includes an innovative, proprietary liquid baby powder that goes on wet and dries after application, as well as disposable nonwoven wash mitts, shampoo and other toiletries. By using outside partners for manufacturing, Kimberly-Clark took the line of products from insight to concept to launch in less than 12 months with limited capital investment.
 
In the incontinence products sector, K-C revamped its Depend brand packaging In May. The new packaging will make it easy for users and caregivers to quickly find the right product solutions to help manage incontinence and will appeal to aging baby boomers who need help dealing with this condition. By making the packaging more discreet, informative and appealing, consumers can quickly find the right products for their needs.
 
One important strategy for K-C has been its commitment to using market insights in developing and emerging markets, which have considerable growth potential as demonstrated by K-C’s reportedly robust sales in these regions. K-C is currently putting its resources behind a targeted group of six countries that it calls BRICIT-Brazil, Russia, India, China, Indonesia and Turkey. These six countries alone account for nearly half of the world’s population, and the estimated size for K-C’s business in these markets is currently in the $6 billion range.
 
In terms of K-C’s corporate structure, one key change came in April when the company combined its North Atlantic Personal Care and Family Care businesses into a single organization. Steve Kalmanson, group president-North Atlantic Personal Care, will head the new organization as group president-North Atlantic Consumer Products. The creation of an integrated North Atlantic consumer products organization continues K-C’s evolution into a more unified global organization and provides immediate advantages.
 
Wrapping up, Mr. Sneyd reflected on 2004 as a fun yet challenging year for the roll goods business. “As any nonwovens participant will tell you, in 2004 and so far in 2005, there are plenty of challenges facing producers. We saw very solid growth this year but that is not to say that these challenges subsided by any means.”
 
Meanwhile, K-C chairman and chief executive officer Thomas Falk described 2004 as a year of delivering on commitments in a challenging business environment. He explained that last year K-C achieved sales volume and earnings per share growth in line with its objectives, generated strong cash flow and made strides in its drive for long-term ROIC improvement. “Today, we are squarely focused on our health and hygiene mission, prioritizing the best growth opportunities for our global brands and applying greater financial discipline to every area of the company.""
 
Commenting on the outlook for 2005, Mr. Falk said the company is poised to meet its goals of 3-5% revenue growth and earnings growth in the mid-to high-single digits. This is in line with its long-term Global Business Plan objectives. “While we are meeting our financial objectives, our goal is to take Kimberly-Clark to the next level of performance,” Mr. Falk said. “We’re looking outside the company more frequently and challenging our teams to design solutions that meet the needs of our customers and shoppers as well as the users of our products.”
Location: Dallas, TX

Sales: $1.2 billion

Description: Key Personnel
Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Rosalind Brewer, president, Global Nonwovens Operations and Technology and Mark Foreste, vice president, Partnership Products Business

Plants
Corinth, MS; Balfour, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Lexington, NC and LaGrange, GA; other facilities in progress

Processes
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled and Coform

Brand Names
Accord fabrics, Blockit protective fabric, Breeze facemask media, Cyclean filtration media, Dustop protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Fathom filtration media, Intrepid filtration media, Matrix protective fabric, Noah protective fabric, Powerloft filtration media and QuieTech acoustic media

Major Markets
Filtration, acoustics, furniture, hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

For Kimberly-Clark, one of the world’s largest roll goods producers, 2005 was a good year with external material sales exceeding the company’s expectations. “We were up over last year and certainly saw a considerable improvement from 2004 to 2005 across all major markets,” reported J.C. Sneyd, director of marketing and sales for K-C’s nonwovens business. “We enjoyed nice growth in all of our segments. It’s an exciting time for us and everyone feels good about the direction we’re heading in.”
 
The company largely attributes last year’s growth in external material sales to the strong performance of the producers and converters it supplies. “I have to credit our customers for this growth. Although we added some new customers, our existing customers did very well last year and this organic growth was instrumental in our upwards sales trend,” Mr. Sneyd said.
 
The percentage of K-C’s total nonwoven capacity targeting external markets remains at about 15% while 85% is used internally to supply the company’s huge consumer and medical products businesses and leading brands such as Huggies disposable diapers and training pants, Depend adult incontinence products and Kotex sanitary protection items. The ratio of K-C’s nonwovens usage to internal/external business areas has been fairly steady for quite a few years in spite of capacity increases and the fact that its machines are kept evergreen.
 
Commenting on the state of the global nonwovens industry, Mr. Sneyd pointed to the commoditization of spunbond and meltblown fabrics as an obvious trend.
K-C’s response to this has been continued product differentiation with more focus on attribute uniqueness.

“There are a lot of people investing in commodity-grade products. Spunbond, SMS and plain vanilla meltblown have become fairly commoditized and it’s then just a question of who can sell it at the lowest price. We, on the other hand, tend not to concentrate on the generics but instead on differentiation through unique products. One key reason our customer base has been so loyal to us is precisely because of the uniqueness of the products we provide. This is where our growth is. This has been an important strategy for the sales of our external materials business for some time and we’ve been pleased with our results,” he said.
 
Capital improvements and expansions were ongoing last year at K-C’s worldwide facilities, including some upgrades to nonwovens facilities as well as at select consumer mills that have been targeted for growth. Mr. Sneyd declined to offer further details on these initiatives.
 
K-C is also continuing to make progress with previously announced plans to aggressively reduce costs by streamlining manufacturing and administrative operations primarily in North America and Europe. The efforts are expected to create a more competitive platform for growth and margin improvement. To date, employees have been notified about workforce reductions and other actions at 19 of the approximately 24 facilities slated for sale, closure or streamlining as part of cost reduction initiatives. The cost-cutting moves are designed to save between $300 and $350 million annually in the face of increased global competition.
 
These competitive improvement initiatives have done little to slow the consumer products business at K-C, which rolled out several new product innovations in 2005 and 2006. New personal care products extend both the Pull-Ups brand and the Huggies Clean team toiletries line. In June K-C launched two new solutions for potty training—new Pull-Ups training pants with Cool Alert and Pull-Ups Night Time training pants. Pull-Ups training pants with learning designs have vibrant underwear-like graphics and designs that fade when wet.
 
Also new this year is the Cottonelle for Kids product line, the first-ever combined dry bath tissue and moist wipes system designed to help parents teach good bathroom and hygiene habits.
 
In its professional sector, 2005 brought on the introduction of a full line of facemasks, coveralls and other protective gear targeting both the “do-it-yourself” segment and the even faster growing “do-it-for-me” professional market. Later this year, K-C Professional will unveil a cut- and chemical-resistant version of its successful Kleenguard Purple Nitrile gloves.
 
In addition to new product development, further globalization and expansion into emerging markets continues to be an effective strategy for K-C’s consumer products business. In developing and eemerging markets, personal care sales continue to rise, in fact, K-C has posted double-digit growth for seven quarters in a row.
 
Another recent consumer product highlight is the inaugural shipment of Gen2 RFID-tagged cases of products to Wal-Mart. This next step in the implementation of RFID technology is a result of K-C’s extensive research and testing on the compatibility of Gen2 hardware and software with conveyor, packaging, logistics and shipping systems in the company’s dedicated Auto-ID research lab in Neenah, WI.
 
Kimberly-Clark has been a pioneer and proponent of using RFID technology to address and improve two of the retail industry’s toughest business challenges—out-of-stocks and global standardization of supply chain systems. This initial roll-out and use of Gen2 hardware and software is K-C’s first step in fully incorporating the Gen2 platform.
 
K-C’s nonwovens business unit—formerly known as the Nonwoven Fabrics Business—changed its name this year to Kimberly Clark Partnership Pro­ducts. The new name is a reflection of the company’s capabilities outside of the roll goods arena. “We not only supply roll goods, we are also active in providing converted solutions for our customers,” said Mr. Sneyd who explained that K-C converts some of its own products and outsources some converting projects as well.
 
The name change is also part of an effort by the business unit to differentiate itself from companies that strictly sell commodity roll goods. “We have developed some very unique products, which companies are taking to market. We are interested in selling unique roll goods that target specified application areas. In every case, either the products themselves or the materials are patent protected,” Mr. Sneyd said. He added that converted products are a fairly significant growth area for K-C where the company supplies many new customers. “Roll goods also continue to grow for us,” he added. “In fact, in the segments we participate in, we are growing faster than the market itself,” he added.
 
Heading into 2007, K-C is optimistic and looks forward to reaping the benefits of future partnerships with key industry players. “We have enjoyed very good success in providing unique roll goods and one-of-a-kind finished products,” Mr. Snedy concluded. “We are going to continue to experience growth through our partnerships with large-scale, highly recognizable companies, which are a very key part of our success.”"
Location: Dallas, TX

Sales: $1.25 billion

Description: Key Personnel
Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Bob Stargel, vice president, Non­­wovens Operations and Technology; Mark Foreste, vice president, Partnership Products

Plants
Corinth, MS; Balfour, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Lexington, NC and LaGrange, GA; other facilities in progress

Processes
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled and Coform

Brand Names
Blockit protective fabric, Cyclean filtration media, Dustop protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Intrepid filtration media, Noah protective fabric, Powerloft filtration media and QuieTech acoustic media

Major Markets
Filtration, acoustics, hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

Kimberly-Clark, the world’s third leading nonwoven roll goods producer, reported continued growth in its Partnership Products’ converted and nonwoven roll goods external businesses. Partnership Products, which focuses on Business to Business needs met or exceeded its goals in its targeted segments in 2006, attributing its success to two key factors—organic growth and new product launches.
 
“We had a good year,” reported J.C. Sneyd, director of marketing and sales for K-C’s Partnership Products business. “2006 was quite satisfactory with our focused sectors growing at or above the industry growth rate. We are fortunate to have an excellent customer base that continues to grow and promote our growth.”
 
At the corporate level, K-C saw steady sales growth of more than 5% in 2006, with sales reaching $16.7 billion as a result of a 2% rise in sales volumes. Meanwhile, operating profit hit $2.1 billion. The benefits of top-line growth, along with cost savings of about $265 million offset inflation in key cost components, totaling approximately $385 million.
 
The percentage of K-C’s total nonwoven capacity targeting external markets remains at about 15% while 85% is used internally to supply the company’s huge consumer and medical products businesses and leading brands such as Huggies disposable diapers and training pants, Depend adult incontinence products and Kotex sanitary protection items. The ratio of K-C’s nonwovens usage to internal/external business areas has been fairly steady for quite a few years in spite of capacity increases and the fact that its machines are kept evergreen.
 
Commenting on the state of the global nonwovens industry, Mr. Sneyd observed that the market is somewhat in a state of flux due to recent merger and acquisition activity. “We have seen several instances where older or obsolete capacity is being retired by other companies.”  He added that K-C’s strategy continues to be a strong focus on unique products, an area where the company is still seeing significant activity. “We tend to shy away from commodity products,” he said.
 
Another advantage for K-C is its technology portfolio. “For instance,” explained Mr. Sneyd, “while meltblowing technology has been around for many years, our meltblown assets, which are not your typical, off-the-shelf process, have led to the incorporation of roll goods into unique converted product solutions in our Partnership Products business.”
 
K-C’s nonwovens business unit—formerly known as the Nonwoven Fabrics business—changed its name last year to Kimberly Clark Partnership Products. The new name is a reflection of the company’s capabilities outside of the roll goods arena. “We not only supply roll goods, we are also active in providing converted solutions for our customers.” Mr. Sneyd explained that K-C converts some of its own products and outsources some converting projects as well.
 
As for K-C’s diaper business, in 2006 the company launched two new products, Huggies Supreme Gentle Care and Huggies Supreme Natural Fit diapers. These innovative products, launched simultaneously in North America and Europe in the third quarter of last year, increased volume and marketshare for K-C's diaper business in both geographies.
 
Beyond new product launches, K-C intends to further improve its competitive position through a previously announced cost reduction plan, which is part of a comprehensive, multi-year effort announced in July 2005. The plan calls for streamlining manufacturing and administrative operations primarily in North America and Europe, with expected annual savings of at least $350 million by 2009. With this savings, the company plans to reinvest in targeted growth opportunities, improve key capabilities as well as support margin improvement.
 
Part of this strategy was the phasing out of half the remaining production at its Lakeview diaper plant in Menasha, WI by the end of August. The final closure is slated for the middle of December. About 280 people still work at the Lakeview plant, which once employed as many as 500. K-C announced in March 2006 that it would close the plant, which manufactures Huggies diapers, by the end of 2007 as part of a consolidation of its American baby and childcare operations into three facilities in Beach Island, SC; Paris, TX; and Ogden, UT.
 
Another key development this year at K-C is the creation of a new Global Marketing organization, which stems from ongoing efforts to extend its brand-building capabilities, accelerate growth and product innovation and improve the effectiveness of its marketing resources. As part of the new structure, three senior executives with extensive consumer products and marketing experience have joined K-C in new roles.
 
Similar to other nonwovens producers, K-C is keeping a close eye on environmental concerns and in 2006 launched Vision 2010, the third, five-year phase of a 15-year sustainability effort that has yielded significant reductions in energy consumption, fresh water usage, manufacturing waste landfilled and air emissions benefiting the environment while reducing the company's operating costs.
 
Among key achievements over the past year, K-C reduced its energy use by 2%, increased efficiency by approximately 3%, decreased greenhouse gas emissions per ton of production at its manufacturing operations by 2% and increased the use of certified fiber in its products for the fourth consecutive year. Additionally, K-C updated its fiber procurement policy to maximize the use of environmentally responsible wood fiber and provide that K-C will not knowingly use fiber from forest areas requiring protection.
 
“The environmental and social challenges society will face in the coming decades—from climate change and tighter regulations to growth in developing markets—are real issues that will require changes in behavior, new ways of operating and broader cooperation among individuals, companies and governments,” said Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO. “We are prepared to do our part to meet these challenges.”
 
Looking toward 2008 and beyond, K-C plans to continue to follow the path that has brought the company success so far. “We continue to keep our assets evergreen,” stated Mr. Sneyd. “We also continue to meet the growing demands of our organic businesses and at the same time support our exploration into new products.”"
Location: DALLAS, TX

Sales: $1.3 billion

Description: Partnership Products and K-C
Professional Headquarters
Roswell, GA 30076
Telephone: 770-587-8000

Key Personnel
Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Jan Spencer, president, K-C Professional global; Drew Barfoot, vice president, K-C Professional North America; Mark Foreste, vice president, Partnership Products and K-C Professional Washroom; Bob Stargel, vice president, Global Nonwovens

Plants
Corinth, MS; Balfour, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI, Barton; Upon Humber, U.K.; Tlaxcala, Mexico; Yuhan-Kimberly, Korea, Albury; Australia; Conway, Arkansas, Maumelle, Arkansas, Flint , Wales-U.K., Bogotá, Columbia

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Lexington, NC and LaGrange, GA; other facilities in progress

Processes
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled, Elastics, Film Laminates, Bicomponents, Airlaid and Coform

Brand Names
Blockit protective fabric, Cyclean filtration media, Dustop protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Fathom filtration media, Intrepid filtration media, Noah protective fabric, Powerloft filtration media and QuieTech acoustic media,

Major Markets
Filtration, acoustics, hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

For Kimberly Clark, 2007 was “very solid” with year-over-year growth. Corporate-wide sales reached $18.3 billion last year, up from $16.7 billion in 2006 as a result of a 4% increase in sales volumes, improvements of approximately 1% in both net selling prices and product mix and favorable currency effects of nearly 3%. Operating profit was $2.6 billion compared with $2.1 billion in 2006.
 
On the roll goods end, the company’s Partnership Products business reported continued sustained market growth across the board. Many of the business’ absorbent and specialty materials are supplied by K-C’s Global Nonwovens team and are used in air filtration, liquid contaminant removal, automotive protection and residential and institutional cleaning.
 
The percentage of K-C’s total nonwovens capacity targeting external markets remains at about 15% while 85% is used internally to supply the company’s huge consumer, B2B and medical products businesses and leading brands such as Huggies disposable diapers and training pants, Depend adult incontinence products and Kotex sanitary protection items. The ratio of K-C’s nonwovens usage to internal/external business areas has been fairly steady for quite a few years in spite of capacity increases and the fact that its machines are kept evergreen.
 
According to J.C. Sneyd, director of marketing and sales for K-C’s Partnership Products business, the year brought a significant amount of organic and new customer growth. “It was a combination of both,” he said. “Our customers did exceedingly well last year, all achieving solid growth.”
 
Mr. Sneyd characterized the company’s customer base as “educated” and “understanding” in light of the increasing raw material and energy costs hitting the industry. “Our customers are as committed as we are—they aren’t fickle. Once they are on board, they stay.” As for new customers, Mr. Sneyd drew a similar picture. “Even as we take on new customers, they quickly become long-term relationships.” He added that, throughout the company, there is minimal turnover among K-C’s veteran staff, from R&D to manufacturing to sales.
 
Surprisingly, in 2008, despite tough economic conditions, K-C has not seen a drop-off in terms of orders. Mr. Sneyd partially attributed this to the fact that the segments K-C participates in are less affected by shifts in the external market. “Our focus is on more unique products rather than commodities. We are very fortunate to be in a good situation while some people out there are having a very tough year.”
 
He went on to say that the company has benefited from its mutually honest partnerships with customers. “People expect honesty and they get it—we don’t play games. We expect the same from them and this is a good position to be in. The magnitude and longevity of our company helps; this may be why we have such a committed customer base. Our customers believe that we are going to be there for the long run.” Mr. Sneyd added that this kind of relationship is fostered by K-C being more than just a nonwovens company. “People see us as more than just nonwovens,” he said.
 
The big news this year for the Partnership Products business centered on its incorporation into K-C Professional at the close of 2007. “The move has helped our business quite a bit,” stated Mr. Sneyd. “We are much bigger and part of a global business now.” He went on to describe the consolidation as a very positive move for both businesses due to a variety of beneficial synergies.
 
When it comes to manufacturing facilities, all of the company’s nonwovens plants are running at full capacity levels without downtime. The decision to close its Neenah mill was reversed last August as a result of continued demand. “We plan to keep this mill running, as it meets too much demand that can’t be taken up by other mills,” Mr. Sneyd said. K-C had announced in July 2006 that it would sell or close the facility by the end of 2008. As planned, the mill continues to operate those assets used in the production of synthetic materials for K-C’s consumer and B2B products.
 
K-C’s core roll good market sales, driven by unique nonwoven processes, all reported satisfactory performance and solid year-over-year growth. In filtration and delivery systems, K-C saw both organic and new customer growth while the sorbents and personal care areas expanded mostly as a result of customers’ rapid growth. “All four of these market segments are a true joy to work in,” commented Mr. Sneyd.
 
K-C has also been busy recently targeting new markets with its external nonwovens business. “We are working on novel concepts that are quite impressive,” he said. “We have already created proto-type products that are going through the patent protection process.” Mr. Sneyd declined to offer any other details on the innovations.
 
In terms of its global assets, K-C has kept busy on several fronts. In South Africa, the company plans to purchase the remaining stake in its South African subsidiary, Kimberly-Clark of South Africa, from The Lion Match Company (Proprietary) Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FASIC Investment Corporation Limited. K-C currently owns slightly more than 50% of K-CSA. The transaction, which is subject to approval by the Competition Commission, is expected to close in 2008. K-CSA has operated as a joint venture between K-C and Lion Match, or predecessor companies, since 1955.
 
“Our increased ownership in this successful affiliate bolsters K-C’s presence in the country and enhances our growth potential in sub-equatorial Africa,” said Tom Davis, president of Kimberly-Clark Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. “We have an excellent leadership team in place and this transaction gives us greater flexibility in how we execute our strategies for this region.”
 
On the South American front, K-C plans to invest $60 million in Peru, becoming the first big U.S. company to say it will expand in the country since it signed a free-trade pact with the U.S. in December. K-C expects to double production in the country by expanding existing diaper and paper plants, making Peru a regional center, supplying Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador. Peru’s economy, one of the fastest growing in the world, grew some 8.5% last year.
 
In the area of sustainability, K-C’s Environmental Vision 2010 program is faring well and the company is now underway with a 2015 program. Through its Vision 2005 program, K-C improved energy efficiency by 19%, water efficiency by 29% and reduced the percentage of waste landfilled by 30%. To help it achieve its Vision objectives, K-C looks to do business with suppliers whose environmental programs are compatible with K-C’s and who can provide the company with products and solutions that move it closer to its goals.
 
“What we are doing in sustainability is just fantastic. I can’t go into all of the programs, but we are doing some amazing things in sustainability all along the supply chain from fiber to finished product.” He added that the company has a lot of people working on sustainability across all sectors. “We are working with fiber suppliers; we are working on our own manufacturing process and we are working closely with customers on end products. Sustainability is a goal that goes beyond just ourselves.”
 
As the company moves forward, K-C plans to continue to invest in R&D and novel and unique nonwovens. “We have not been a basic commodity player for quite some time and that will likely not change.. We are very enthusiastic about the new projects we are developing and believe we will bring excitement in the market.”"
Location: DALLAS, TX


Sales: $1.3 Billion


Description: Key Personnel
Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Jan Spencer, Professional & Other; Richard Thorne, vice president, Professional North America; Stephanie Rossignol, director, Professional Wipers and Partnership Products; Bob
president, Nonwovens Operations and Technology

Plants
Corinth, MS, Balfour, NC, Lexington, NC, LaGrange, WI

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Berkeley, NC, Lexington, GA and Barton (UK); other facilities in progress

Processes
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled

Brand Names
Blockit protective fabric, Cyclean filtration media, protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Intrepid filtration Noah protective fabric and Powerloft filtration media

Major Markets
Filtration, acoustics, hygiene, industrial, medical, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

Kimberly-Clark is holding its own in 2009 while managing in a challenging business environment. At $4.7 billion for the second quarter, corporate-wide sales were down 5.6%, net selling prices climbed 5% and sales volumes declined by 2%. According to the company, its teams delivered solid organic sales growth over the past year, brought innovative new and improved products to market, enhanced the competitive position of its brands, deepened its relationships with key customers and maintained a strong financial position.

Within Kimberly-Clark’s multi-billion dollar corporation, the company’s Global Nonwovens Unit is responsible for producing the nonwoven roll goods that target external markets as well as KC’s consumer, B2B and medical products businesses. Thanks to these highly engineered fabrics, leading brands such as Huggies disposable diapers and Pull-Ups training pants, Depend adult incontinence products and Kotex feminine sanitary protection items have earned household recognition across the globe.

Many of the absorbent and specialty materials sold externally are supplied by K-C’s Global Nonwovens team and are used in air filtration, liquid contaminant removal, automotive protection and residential and institutional cleaning.

The Partnership Products business reported essentially flat sales in 2008. Stephanie Rossignol, director, K-C Professional Wipers and Partnership Products said that applications involving safety, cleanliness, health and hygiene had a fairly strong showing. “Although Partnership Products had declines in some industrial segments, we saw growth in consumer and health care applications.”

Fueling growth for K-C is an emphasis on sustainability with the launch of several Earth-friendly products. “We are very focused on sustainability, especially in our consumer products,” Ms. Rossignol said.

One new offering boasting these benefits is the Scott Naturals brand, a family of bath tissues, paper towels, napkins and flushable wipes. Scott Naturals flushable wipes are made from fibers derived from 100% sustainable resources and natural aloe vera to leave consumers feeling fresh and clean. Meanwhile, the bath tissue includes 40% recycled fiber, towels 60% and napkins 80%.

Another new green offering in the consumer products area from K-C is Huggies Pure & Natural super premium diapers. They include natural, organic materials and ingredients to provide gentle protection for new babies, as well as initial steps toward environmental improvements, without sacrificing performance.

The new Huggies Pure & Natural diaper is hypoallergenic, latexand fragrance-free and features a breathable outer cover that includes organic cotton. The liner includes natural aloe and vitamin E and materials from renewable sources, and the product's outer packaging is sourced from 20% post-consumer recycled materials. The new diaper is offered in six sizes, from newborn to size five.

Kimberly-Clark Filtration has also shown its commitment to the environment with the introduction of a green filtration media that delivers MERV 13 performance for LEED Certified buildings. The media was developed in response to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) standards for ASHRAE 52.2, MERV 13 filtration performance in LEED new construction and major renovation projects.
Description: Location: Dallas, TX

Sales: $1.15 billion

Description: Key Personnel
Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Dudley Lehman, group president, Business to Business Sector; Rosalind Brewer, president, Global Nonwovens Operations and Technology; Mark Foreste, vice president, Nonwoven Fabrics Business

Plants
Corinth, MS; Balfour, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI

ISO Status
Certification achieved in Lexington, NC and LaGrange, GA; other facilities in progress

Processes
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled and Coform

Brand Names
Accord fabrics, Blockit protective fabric, Breeze facemask media, Cyclean filtration media, Dustop protective fabric, Evolution 4 protective fabric, Fathom filtration media, Intrepid filtration media, Matrix protective fabric, Noah protective fabric, Powerloft filtration media and QuieTech acoustic media 

Major Markets
Filtration, acoustics, furniture, hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

Solid 2004 sales growth realized by Kimberly-Clark's Nonwoven Fabrics Business helped one of the world’s largest nonwoven producers maintain its leadership position in the industry.
 
“It was a very good year for the roll good fabrics business,” commented J.C. Sneyd, director of marketing and sales for K-C’s nonwovens division. “We realized a year where our key market segments recorded volume growth surpassing INDA’s industry projections.”
  
Mr. Sneyd attributed the company’s success to the fact that it participates almost exclusively in select markets that lend themselves to its unique products. “We typically do not pursue commodity product areas and tend to favor markets where our offerings typically can’t be duplicated. Our growth strategy is based on these very unique products and processes.” He added that K-C’s few existing commodity roll good products were in line with industry growth rates exhibiting nominal increases in the last year.
 
The percentage of K-C’s total nonwovens capacity targeting these external markets remains at about 12-15% while 85-88% is used internally to supply the company’s huge consumer products business including leading brands such as Huggies disposable dia­pers and training pants, Depend adult incontinence products and Kotex sanitary protection items. The ratio of K-C’s nonwovens usage to internal/external business areas has been fairly steady for quite a few years in spite of capacity increases and the fact that its machines are kept evergreen.
  
As for K-C’s Business to Business division—which encompasses its health care, professional, roll goods and global operations groups—the company has worked hard to mesh objectives and goals with strategies and measures. The group is moving forward and the spin-off of Neenah Paper, Technical Paper and pulp and timber operations in Canada was completed in November 2004. K-C has leveraged its proprietary nonwovens technology in the B2B business area through a new portfolio of high margin wiping products. For instance, WypAll towels are designed to perform better than cloth, at a fraction of the cost, making them an ideal replacement for cloth rags.
 
When it comes to new products from K-C’s consumer end, it has been another prolific year. Kleenex Moist Cloths, based on proprietary hydroknit technology, were launched in March. The nonwoven cloths are thick, soft, disposable hand and face cloths created for use around the home. The product provides an innovative solution to an unmet consumer need for a disposable alternative to a washcloth or wet paper towel—one that is more substantial and easier to use than traditional hand and face wipes. Kleenex Moist Cloths are large and hand-sized (8.5 inches x 8.25 inches) and feature a mild, alcohol-free formulation that is gentle on the skin. Consumer feedback led Kimberly-Clark to create a facial tissue-type carton for Kleenex Moist Cloths rather than the traditional, portable tub container used for regular wipes.
 
Also in the Personal Care sector, Pull-Ups Training Pants have been redesigned and now feature new designs and a choice of products. For the majority of parents who prefer toilet training aids that provide positive reinforcement, K-C has added learning designs to the inside and outside of its pants-fun graphics that fade when the product is wet, signaling an accident. For parents who prefer an alternate approach, the Pull-Ups brand also offers pants that keep a child dry but make him or her feel wet temporarily.
 
K-C’s new Huggies Bath & Baby products illustrate the company’s recently augmented efforts to build strategic partnerships and thereby expand capabilities, reduce costs and speed time to market for innovations. The line includes an innovative, proprietary liquid baby powder that goes on wet and dries after application, as well as disposable nonwoven wash mitts, shampoo and other toiletries. By using outside partners for manufacturing, Kimberly-Clark took the line of products from insight to concept to launch in less than 12 months with limited capital investment.
 
In the incontinence products sector, K-C revamped its Depend brand packaging In May. The new packaging will make it easy for users and caregivers to quickly find the right product solutions to help manage incontinence and will appeal to aging baby boomers who need help dealing with this condition. By making the packaging more discreet, informative and appealing, consumers can quickly find the right products for their needs.
 
One important strategy for K-C has been its commitment to using market insights in developing and emerging markets, which have considerable growth potential as demonstrated by K-C’s reportedly robust sales in these regions. K-C is currently putting its resources behind a targeted group of six countries that it calls BRICIT-Brazil, Russia, India, China, Indonesia and Turkey. These six countries alone account for nearly half of the world’s population, and the estimated size for K-C’s business in these markets is currently in the $6 billion range.
 
In terms of K-C’s corporate structure, one key change came in April when the company combined its North Atlantic Personal Care and Family Care businesses into a single organization. Steve Kalmanson, group president-North Atlantic Personal Care, will head the new organization as group president-North Atlantic Consumer Products. The creation of an integrated North Atlantic consumer products organization continues K-C’s evolution into a more unified global organization and provides immediate advantages. 
 
Wrapping up, Mr. Sneyd reflected on 2004 as a fun yet challenging year for the roll goods business. “As any nonwovens participant will tell you, in 2004 and so far in 2005, there are plenty of challenges facing producers. We saw very solid growth this year but that is not to say that these challenges subsided by any means.”
 
Meanwhile, K-C chairman and chief executive officer Thomas Falk described 2004 as a year of delivering on commitments in a challenging business environment. He explained that last year K-C achieved sales volume and earnings per share growth in line with its objectives, generated strong cash flow and made strides in its drive for long-term ROIC improvement. “Today, we are squarely focused on our health and hygiene mission, prioritizing the best growth opportunities for our global brands and applying greater financial discipline to every area of the company.""
 
Commenting on the outlook for 2005, Mr. Falk said the company is poised to meet its goals of 3-5% revenue growth and earnings growth in the mid-to high-single digits. This is in line with its long-term Global Business Plan objectives. “While we are meeting our financial objectives, our goal is to take Kimberly-Clark to the next level of performance,” Mr. Falk said. “We’re looking outside the company more frequently and challenging our teams to design solutions that meet the needs of our customers and shoppers as well as the users of our products.”
Dallas, TX
www.kimberly-clark.com
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $1.25 billion

Partnership Products and K-C  Professional Headquarters
Roswell, GA
www.kcprofessional.com

Key Personnel: Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Elane B. Stock, president, K-C Professional; Richard Thorne, vice president, K-C Professional North America; Bob Stargel, vice president, K-C Global Nonwovens, Tony Fedel, associate director, K-C Professional Partnership Products

Plants: Corinth, MS; Balfour and Hendersonville, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI; Barton-upon-Humber, U.K.; Jaromer, Czech Republic

ISO Status: Certification achieved in Berkeley, NC, Lexington, NC, LaGrange, GA, and Barton (U.K.); other facilities in progress

Processes: Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled, film lamination, elastic lamination and Coform

Brands: Kimberly-Clark Professional; Protective Fabrics: Block-It, Dustop, Evolution, and Noah; Filtration Media: Intrepid, Powerloft, Cyclean

Major Markets: Filtration, acoustics, consumer hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes

One of the world’s largest users of nonwovens, Kimberly-Clark’s output largely fuels its absorbent products consumer business where it markets some of the biggest brands in the world, including Huggies diapers and wipes, Kotex feminine hygiene items and Depend adult incontinence care products. To serve this business, the Dallas, TX-based company uses nonwovens sourced both internally and externally, but the company also sells nonwoven roll goods in segments including filtration, sorbents and wipes, according to executives, and this segment of its business continues to be an important growth driver.

“Globally, K-Cers come to work every day striving to achieve the corporate vision to lead the world in essentials for a better life,” says Tony Fedel, associate director, Kimberly-Clark Professional Partnership Products.

“When a company and its people are driven by such a clear and noble purpose, every business unit is empowered to deliver on that promise. Ultimately, we view it as a differentiator and competitive strength within the nonwovens industry that allows us to work closely with our customers, helping them achieve their goals and grow their businesses. Our customers get the same product performance people associate with Kimberly-Clark overall, which makes our offerings ideal for other branded product marketers.”

Partnership Products is a unique K-C business unit, managed within K-C Professional, in that it markets and sells K-C nonwoven materials externally to other branded and contract manufacturers across both the B2C and B2B spaces.

“We do see opportunities for growth in most of the segments we serve with our innovative, value-added products,” Fedel says. “Partnership Products does not focus on commodity-type products or opportunities. Instead, we focus our attention on markets where we can provide differentiated technology and performance and where we can become a strategic, long-term partner with our customers. As an example, consider Kimberly-Clark’s meltblown technology. K-C’s nonwovens research and engineering know-how, product development capabilities and machine capabilities deliver best-in-class meltblown material performance properties. Our filtration media product is another good example of our high performance technology, this time with electret-treated bicomponent spunbond materials that we can manufacture at varying levels of thickness, as needed, to improve dust holding capacity as well as meet various filtration efficiency levels with low initial pressure drop. “

In 2011, sales increased 6% corporate-wide for Kimberly-Clark, reaching $20.8 billion. Executives credited higher net selling prices as well as increased sales volumes for the increase. Meanwhile, personal care sales increased from $8.6 billion to $9.1 billion despite lower sales of Huggies and Pull-Ups in North America. Bright spots for the year included product innovation in the Poise, Depend and U by Kotex brands, currency benefits coming out of Europe, as well as strong growth in South Korea, China and Latin America (except for Venezuela).

In recent months, K-C has shown its commitment to broad-based growth through a series of new product introductions in a number of areas.

Just this summer, the Pull-Ups brand revealed new, glow-in-the-dark designs in its Pull-Ups NightTime disposable training pants. The designs, featuring Disney’s Cinderella and Mater and Lightning McQueen from the Cars movies, help parents start a new nighttime routine to make potty training consistent, easier and fun.

Also in baby care, K-C has continued its tradition of seasonally appropriate, limited edition designer diapers with Hawaiian-themed and Camouflage diapers and formed a licensing agreement with Marvel comics for its GoodNites disposable underwear.

Also in the GoodNites brand, K-C this year introduced Bed Mats, ultra-absorbent, cloth-like, disposable mats that provide nighttime security against bedwetting. GoodNites Bed Mats feature adhesive strips to adhere to the top of a child’s fitted sheet and help the product stay in place all night long.

“As a trusted leader and expert, GoodNites brand understands the challenges of millions of parents and children who are dealing with bedwetting,” says Dave Caputo, senior brand manager, GoodNites. “GoodNites Bed Mats is a new bedwetting protection choice that offers outstanding absorption in a cloth-like mat, helping give families a better night’s sleep.”

Within its feminine care line, K-C is getting ready to launch a first-of-its-kind line designed specifically with menopausal women in mind. The Poise Feminine Wellness line—designed specifically with menopausal women in mind—represents the Poise brand’s expansion into the feminine wellness category in the U.S. and Canada, following the recent successful rollout of these products in parts of Latin America.

The Poise Feminine Wellness line includes five products—including roll-on cooling gel and body cooling towelettes, a personal lubricant and panty fresheners—designed to work naturally with a woman’s body during menopause to provide comfort and help her feel feminine and confident throughout the day.

“Fifty million women across North America are approaching or experiencing menopause, but until now there has been no suite of consumer products that helps them cope on a daily basis,” says Rebecca Dunphey, Poise brand director at Kimberly-Clark. “The Poise Feminine Wellness line is specifically designed to help women approach this life stage with confidence. These products are a natural extension for the Poise brand, which millions of women already rely on for discrete protection from light bladder leakage. “Poise Feminine Wellness products were initially launched in Chile in 2009 and were subsequently introduced in Colombia, and helped the Poise brand grow in that region.

For younger women, K-C continues to be successful with its U by Kotex line of feminine hygiene items, which was introduced in 2010 to drive penetration for the Kotex brand and category growth in general. In its first year in the North American market, this Kotex sub-brand achieved more than four points of marketshare, quickly becoming one of K-C’s fastest growing brands and helping drive consumer interest and growth in a relatively flat category. Most recently, the IRI Symphony Group named U by Kotex the number three non-food pacesetter for 2011, generating approximately $75 million in first-year retail sales.

In 2012, K-C built off this success with the national launch of new U by Kotex Sleek tampons and new U by Kotex CleanWear pads. U by Kotex Sleek Tampons feature a first-of-its-kind “Perfect Touch Grip” applicator that is soft, smooth and slim to provide an easy hold for “just right” placement. The new U by Kotex CleanWear Pad features a revolutionary MemoryFlex core that keeps its shape and fits closely with a woman’s curves, improving flexibility. Both innovations provide women with exceptional protection and comfort and establish a new level of performance.

“U by Kotex challenges accepted norms by delivering premium products that combine innovative design, outstanding performance and a bold, straight-talking approach to marketing that is changing the conversation around feminine care,” says Claire Miller, marketing director for Kotex. “New U by Kotex Sleek tampons and U by Kotex CleanWear pads are the latest step in our ongoing mission to break through the sea of sameness in the category, accelerate sales and continue to build the Kotex brand into a powerhouse.”

In 2012, the Kotex brand achieved a significant milestone, joining other K-C brands like Huggies, Kleenex and Scott, by becoming a billion-dollar brand. Executives said this status was achieved after two years of growth by the brand.

In addition to new product development, K-C has invested considerable resources in upping its sustainability efforts during the past several years. Recently, the company received an A+ rating from Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) on its 2011 Corporate Sustainability Report, which highlights the company’s progress towards its Sustainability 2015 goals.

“Receiving the A+ GRI rating is a testament to the commitment that our leaders and our employees have to sustainability across our entire value chain involving every function, brand and business at K-C,” says Peggy Ward, director, Sustainability Strategy, at Kimberly-Clark. “While we are proud of our 2011 progress and the quality level of our sustainability report, we recognize that sustainability is a journey that we will never complete.”

The 2011 Sustainability Report was released in May 2012 and is K-C’s ninth such annual report. The report is structured around the company’s Sustainability 2015 strategy framework of People, Planet and Products introduced last year. The new framework represents K-C’s most ambitious and comprehensive sustainability strategy to date and embodies the company’s commitment to weaving a sustainable business practice and mindset into every facet of the organization as an integral part of its Global Business Plan.

In order to secure the A+ rating, Kimberly-Clark fulfilled all 79 indicators established by GRI under the headings of Economic Performance, Labor Practices, Human Rights, Environmental Practices, Society Performance and Product Responsibilities. Some of the key highlights of K-C’s activities captured in the report include: sourcing 99.9% of its fiber from suppliers certified by sustainable forestry practices; generating 13% of 2011 net sales from environmentally innovative products; accomplishing its goal of zero workplace fatalities; communicating its Supplier Social Compliance Standards to all of its key suppliers; extending the Huggies brand Every Little Bottom campaign in the U.S. to assist moms who struggle to provide their babies clean disposable diapers; and expanding the Huggies diaper composting initiatives by opening a second K-C-sponsored recycling plant in New Zealand.
Dallas, TX
www.kimberly-clark.com
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $1.25 billion (estimated)
 
Partnership Products and
K-C Professional Headquarters
Roswell, GA
www.kcprofessional.com
 
Key Personnel: Thomas Falk, chairman and CEO; Elane B. Stock, president, K-C Professional; Richard Thorne, vice president, K-C Professional North America; Bob Stargel, vice president, K-C Global Nonwovens; Tony Fedel, business leader, K-C Professional Partnership Products
 
Plants:Corinth, MS; Balfour and Hendersonville, NC; Lexington, NC; LaGrange, GA; Neenah, WI; Barton-upon-Humber, U.K.; Jaromer, Czech Republic
 
ISO Status:Certification achieved in Berkeley, NC, Lexington, NC, LaGrange, GA, and Barton (U.K.); other facilities in progress
 
Processes: Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, BCW, hydroentangled, film lamination, elastic lamination and Coform
 
Brands: Kimberly-Clark Professional; Protective Fabrics: Block-It, Dustop, Evolution, and Noah; Filtration Media: Intrepid, Powerloft, Cyclean
 
Major Markets: Filtration, acoustics, consumer hygiene, industrial, medical, packaging, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes
 
One of the world’s largest users of nonwovens, Kimberly-Clark is also one of the biggest producers of nonwovens in the world. While much of this company’s output fuels its enormous consumer products business, including Huggies Disposable diapers, Depend adult incontinence and Kotex feminine hygiene products, Kimberly-Clark’s Partnership Products business sells nonwoven substrates within a total of six categories— filtration, protective fabrics, acoustics, absorbents, advanced personal care and wet wipe delivery systems.
 
While the major brands are what K-C is known best for, executives say developing the external nonwovens business, which represent about 15% of total output, is just as important to the company as the nonwovens used internally.
 
“The Partnership Products team leverages various, and often proprietary, nonwovens technologies manufactured by Kimberly-Clark,” says Michele Neher, business development manager, Kimberly-Clark Professional Partnership Products. “We partner with outside companies that purchase these materials and convert them into end-use products. Our nonwovens are used as components of products you may use every day.
 
“We focus our attention on markets where we can provide differentiated technology and performance and where we can be a strategic, long-term partner with our customers,” says Neher. “We sell our nonwoven roll goods to both converters and branded product manufacturers. These customers value getting the same product performance people associate with Kimberly-Clark’s billion dollar brands.”
 
At the core of K-C Professional Partnership Products is the Exceptional Products initiative. All of the business unit’s products and activities center around the goal of making people’s lives healthier, safer and more productive whether it be an air filtration product that improves indoor air quality, protective fabrics to safeguard high value property or wiping substrates used in medical, industrial and consumer products.
 
“Our success lies in the depth of our capability and experience in delivering value-added, innovative nonwoven solutions to our customers that enable them to win by bringing exceptional products to market,” says Tony Fedel, business leader of K-C Professional Partnership Products.
 
Products being sold by Partnership Products include fine fiber metlblown applications used in high performance wipes areas, dual texture meltblown applications for industrial wipes areas, Hydroknit Material, Ultrasoft spunbond, SMS nonwovens and Coform. These products are made at sites in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi.
 
In terms of corporate sales, K-C reported a 1% increase to $21.1 billion last year and sales are expected to grow 2-3% by volume in 2013. These volumes account for lower sales in Europe where K-C announced in late 2012 it would exit the disposable diaper business. K-C said it would exit the European diaper market, except for Italy, and would divest some lower margin businesses in the consumer tissue market. At the time of the announcement, CEO Thomas Falk said the move would facilitate growth in other parts of the world.
 
The closures reportedly affected five diaper plants, which in total employed 1200-1500 employees.
 
Amidst this change, K-C continues to focus on building its global brands by providing products that improve the lives of its consumers. Within U by Kotex, a feminine hygiene brand targeting younger women, K-C introduced U by Kotex Extra pads—a new, super premium maxi pad designed to keep girls feeling clean and fresh while providing maximum, heavy duty protection. The brand’s most absorbent pad yet, U by Kotex Extra pads provide such outstanding protection that the U by Kotex brand invites girls to put it to the test in their own “real life product demos” and experience firsthand how it performs and looks like no other.
 
“The U by Kotex brand knows girls are too smart to believe the absurd, unrealistic demos that some feminine care brands use to prove their products work,” says Kanchan Patkar, U by Kotex senior brand manager, Kimberly-Clark. “When it comes to protection, real life is the only test that matters; so we encourage girls to try and see for themselves how the U by Kotex Extra pad protects against their heaviest flows.”
 
With the launch of U by Kotex Extra pads, the U by Kotex brand, which was established in 2010, offers a full spectrum of coverage absorbency including U by Kotex Click and Sleek tampons, U by Kotex CleanWear pads and U by Kotex BarelyThere and Curves liners. The new U by Kotex Extra pads have a soft dual cover that keeps wearers clean and dry, an ultra-flexible four-layer absorbency system and Tru-Fit wings that help prevent bunching and scrunching and keep the pad in place. Like all U by Kotex brand products, U by Kotex Extra pads feature a bold, edgy aesthetic and fun colors that continue to challenge the boring and institutional look of feminine care. 
 
Within the baby and family care segment, K-C has expanded its GoodNites disposable underwear with a new design that fits more like real underwear. New GoodNites Underwear can help kids boost their self-esteem by empowering them to participate without drawing unwanted attention to their condition.
 
“Many parents are unaware that bedwetting is a developmental condition that cannot be overcome through training, and it affects one out of every six kids between the ages of 4-12 years old,” says Jen Wilder, GoodNites brand director for Kimberly-Clark Corp. “We want to provide effective bedwetting solutions and also educate parents on how to best support their child. This new Undercover Mission will help make the journey easier for their children.”
 
Providing solutions for its customers also led to the creation of Depend Guards and Shields, two products specifically designed for men with light bladder leakage. Depend Guards and Shields are made to fi t a man’s body and can be worn securely in a man’s own underwear. Depend Guards for Men fit like an athletic cup so they stay close to the body and feature maximum absorbency for larger surges. Depend Shields for Men are ultra-thin and offer light absorbency for drips and dribbles.
 
On the professional side of its business, K-C this year developed a suite of wipes, under its Kimtech brand, to address the unique needs of the aviation industry and help workers perform more productively and efficiently. This aviation-certified wiping solutions meet the requirements of Aerospace Material Specification(AMS) 3819C (Aerospace industry requirement) and Boeing Material Specification (BMS) 15-5F (Boeing).
 
Kimtech Wipes for aviation are specifically engineered to perform in all areas of Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) and Maintenance Repair Operations (MRO) operations — including paint surface prep, engine maintenance and general-purpose cleaning. These application-driven solutions are designed to deliver superior cleaning, improve operational efficiencies, reduce turn-around time, and maximize productivity while meeting the precision standards and requirements of the aviation industry.
 
“Aviation industry workers must have the best wiping tools available to make sure every job is done right the first time,” says Marianne Santangelo, go-to-market leader, Manufacturing, Kimberly-Clark Professional. “Our goal is to provide them with a comprehensive range of customized tools that reduce waste and costs and increase efficiency. This supports our vision of creating Exceptional Workplaces that help keep workers healthier, safer and more productive.”
 
Kimtech Wipes for aviation are available in four categories: Abrasive Wipes, Surface Preparation Wipes, Cleaning Wipes and a Wet Wipe System. The products also feature an intuitive, alpha-numeric, performance-tier identification system with visual cues that make it easier for technicians to identify the right product for the task.