Nonwovens Industry
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Rexcell


Location: Bengtsfors, Sweden

Sales: $78.5 million

Description: Key Personnel
Anders Uttersav, vice president of sales and marketing

Plant Locations
Sweden—Skåpafors and Dals Långe

Applications
Tabletop, wipes, feminine hygiene, adult incontinence

Processes
Airlaid


Rexcell Tissue & Airlaid AB—known until December 2004 as Duni Papermills— shares a long history with the Duni Group but is working hard to establish its own identity as an airlaid manufacturer. While Rexcell is currently owned by tabletop company Duni AB, a member of private equity firm EQT, there has been speculation for some time that Rexcell would be spun off in an initial public offering but to date no such decision has been finalized, said vice president of marketing and sales Anders Uttersav.
 
“Duni has been very supportive of airlaid, particularly when it comes to the tabletop area because that is its business,” he said. “When it comes to hygiene, things are a little different because Duni has nothing to do with hygiene. What to do with this business has been a subject of discussion for years in the group, but the strategy right now is to continue to grow Rexcell within Duni.”
 
Rexcell became the first European maker of commercialized airlaid nonwovens in 1982 when it launched a small line in Sweden. This line was followed with a 1.6 meter line featuring flexibility in bonding choices, which came onstream in 1986, and a 2.6 meter airlaid line in 1996. The original pilot line was closed at the introduction of the “TM2.”
 
Rexcell’s current airlaid capacity is currently about 30,000+ tons, which executives said is under great demand, a situation that will likely force the company to make an investment decision in the near term.
 
“In Europe, the airlaid market is completely overbooked,” Mr. Uttersav said. “So the capacity at the moment is not in line with the need. That goes for all types of airlaid—tabletop, hygiene, everything. Everyone seems to be screaming for airlaid. It is good for us but at the same time we are unhappy about not being able to supply the amount we could be.”
 
Currently, about 98% of Rexcell’s airlaid business exists in Europe, where it has a reported 20% marketshare, and while other airlaid producers have already implemented and finalized plans for expansion, Rexcell feels caution is the best course of action when investing because of the threat of overcapacity concerns. “When you look at the situation with some of the companies in North America a few years ago—and some are even still struggling—you realize you have to be careful about these things,” Mr. Uttersav explained.
 
Rexcell’s overall business is split evenly between tissue and airlaid. Key airlaid markets include tabletop, which is partially fueled by supply to its parent company, as well as wipes, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence. All of its airlaid output is based on natural fibers and, unlike some of its competitors, Rexcell has no capabilities in the synthetic realm.
 
“We haven’t seen a great need for synthetic,” Mr. Uttersav said. “There is a lot of speculation in the marketplace—if it will develop or not. On one hand, it is better to be more flexible but we are quite comfortable with focusing on what we are good at and we don’t feel we need the combination in this stage.”
 
Looking forward, Mr. Uttersav said he sees new product development defining the airlaid market in the future with important markets ranging from wipes to automotives to building products to filtration. These new markets will largely be the result of overcapacity in existing markets as new lines come onstream throughout Europe and North America. Rexcell will respond to this with faster speeds, performance improvements and product development efforts. “We always put effort into understanding not only general trends but also the final customer’s needs and behavior. Together with the partnerships we have, we will get a pretty good guideline for our product development efforts.”

Location: BENGTSFORS, SWEDEN

Sales: $86 million

Description: Key Personnel
Andreas Norman, vice president of sales and marketing

Plant Locations
Sweden—Skåpafors and Dals Långe

Applications
Tabletop, wipes, feminine hygiene, adult incontinence

Processes
Airlaid

Rexcell Tissue & Airlaid AB—known until December 2004 as Duni Papermills— shares a long history with the Duni Group but is working hard to establish its own identity as an airlaid manufacturer. While Rexcell is currently owned by tabletop company Duni AB, a member of private equity firm EQT, there has been speculation for some time that Rexcell would be spun off in an initial public offering but to date no such decision has been finalized.
 
Rexcell became the first European maker of commercialized airlaid nonwovens in 1982 when it launched a small line in Sweden. This line was followed with a 1.6 meter line featuring flexibility in bonding choices, which came onstream in 1986, and a 2.6 meter airlaid line (TM2) in 1996. The original pilot line was closed when TM2 was opened.
 
Rexcell’s current airlaid capacity is currently about 30,000+ tons, which executives said is under great demand, a situation that will likely force the company to make an investment decision in the near term.
 
Characterizing the European airlaid market as stable with a good and healthy increase in demand, Andreas Normen, company spokesman, reported that sales in 2007 increased to SEK 544 million thanks largely to increased recouped from a constant improvement program in both quality and capacity as well as high demand for airlaid. “We are growing mainly because of the capacity and quality improvements in combination with good demand for airlaid,” he said. Raw material and energy price increases are the main drivers of an increased cost situation.”
 
Currently, about 98% of Rexcell’s airlaid business exists in Europe, where it has a reported 20% marketshare, and while other airlaid producers have already implemented and finalized plans for expansion, Rexcell feels caution is the best course of action when investing because of the threat of overcapacity concerns. “When you look at the situation with some of the companies in North America a few years ago—and some are even still struggling—you realize you have to be careful about these things,” Mr. Uttersav explained.
 
Rexcell’s overall business is split evenly between tissue and airlaid. Key airlaid markets include tabletop, which is partially fueled by supply to its parent company, as well as wipes, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence. All of its airlaid output is based on natural fibers and, unlike some of its competitors, Rexcell has no capabilities in the synthetic realm.
 
Looking forward, Mr. Norman said Rexcell’s main focus will be keeping up with market demands in terms of both capacity and quality. “Of course, the general economic situation is vital for all business,” he said. “We will keep providing out customers with proven performance to secure their successs in their markets and to growth with them as a premium supplier of premium material.”

Location: BENGTSFORS, SWEDEN


Sales: $86 Million


Description: Key Personnel
Andreas Norman, vice president of sales and marketing

Plant Locations
Sweden—Skåpafors and Dals Långe

Applications
Tabletop, wipes, feminine hygiene, adult incontinence

Sales were flat last year for Rexcell Tissue & Airlaid as stable growth earlier in the year slowed and eventually turned to declining volumes by the end of the year, said vice president of sales and marketing Andreas Normen. Despite these trying times, Mr. Normen described the European market as a rather good condition; however, new capacity coming onstream combined with economic turbulence could make an impact by year’s end.

Owned by the Duni Group, Sweden’s Rexcell is Europe’s oldest maker of commercialized airlaid. It launched its first line—a small one—in Sweden in 1982 and added a 1.6-meter line featuring flexibility in bonding choices in 1986. A 2.6-meter airlaid line (TM2) was added in 1996 at which time the original pilot line was shut down. While investment in new lines has slowed since then—as the global airlaid market has sought to balance supply and demand levels—Rexcell is continuously making efforts to improve its existing assets. In 2008, this was a $7 million bioboiler to help improve energy efficiency throughout its processes.

“We continuously work with energy efficiency and other green projects under the idea that going more green is beneficial to all and the costs as well,” Mr. Normen said. “Green does not mean extra costs if you do it right.”

Rexcell’s airlaid capacity is currently about 30,000+ tons, which executives said is under great demand, a situation that will likely force the company to make an investment decision in the near term. For now, the company is looking to see how Concert Industries’ latest European investment—an airlaid line in Germany— will affect supply.

Currently, about 98% of Rexcell’s airlaid business exists in Europe, where it has a reported 20% marketshare. Its business is split evenly between airlaid and tissue and airlaid markets include tabletop, which is partially fueled by supply to its parent company, as well as wipes, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence. All of its airlaid output is based on natural fibers and, unlike some of its competitors, Rexcell has no capabilities in the synthetic realm.

Looking forward, Mr. Norman said Rexcell’s main focus will be keeping up with market demands in terms of both capacity and quality. “We will continue to develop ourselves as a company— the process and the product in close relationship with our customers and other stake holders, with a big focus on minimizing our energy usage and the impact on the environment,” Mr. Normen concluded.

Location: Bengtsfors, Sweden

Sales: $80 million

Description: Key Personnel
Andreas Norman, vice president of sales and marketing

Plant Locations
Sweden—Skåpafors and Dals Långe

Applications
Tabletop, wipes, feminine hygiene, adult incontinence


Owned by the Duni Group, Sweden’s Rexcell is Europe’s oldest maker of commercialized airlaid. It launched its first line—a small one—in Sweden in 1982 and added a 1.6-meter line featuring flexibility in bonding choices in 1986. A 2.6-meter airlaid line (TM2) was added in 1996 at which time the original pilot line was shut down. While investment in new lines has slowed since then—as the global airlaid market has sought to balance supply and demand levels—Rexcell is continuously making efforts to improve its existing assets. In 2008, this was a $7 million bioboiler to help improve energy efficiency throughout its processes.
    “We continuously work with energy efficiency and other green projects under the idea that going more green is beneficial to all and the costs as well,” said Andreas Normen, vice president of sales and marketing. “Green does not mean extra costs if you do it right.”
    Rexcell’s airlaid capacity is currently about 30,000+ tons, which executives said is under great demand, a situation that will likely force the company to make an investment decision in the near term. For now, the company is looking to see how Concert Industries’ latest European investment—an airlaid line in Germany—will affect supply.
    Currently, about 98% of Rexcell’s airlaid business exists in Europe, where it has a reported 20% marketshare. Its business is split evenly between airlaid and tissue and airlaid markets including tabletop, which is partially fueled by supply to its parent company, as well as wipes, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence. All of its airlaid output is based on natural fibers and, unlike some of its competitors, Rexcell has no capabilities in the synthetic realm.
    Looking forward, Mr. Norman said Rexcell’s main focus will be keeping up with market demands in terms of both capacity and quality. “We will continue to develop ourselves as a company—the process and the product in close relationship with our customers and other stake holders, with a big focus on minimizing our energy usage and the impact on the environment,” Mr. Norman said.