Nonwovens Industry
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Textilgruppe Hof


Location: Hof/Saale, Germany

Sales: $67 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Manfred Knieling, managing director; Rudolf Schlotter, managing director; Detlev Käppel, managing director-Techtex, sales director, technical nonwovens; Gunther Hoffman, president-Hof Textiles, Inc.

Plants
Hof, Germany; Mittweida, Germany, Lincolnton, NC

ISO Status
ISO 9001, ISO 14001, VDA 6.1

Processes
Dry laid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, saturate bonded, stitchbonded

Brand Names
Variopoint, Unipoint, Unisoft, Zetafelt, Zetafil, Zetawatt, Florbond, Zetabond, Zetatherm, Maliwatt, Malivlies, Kunit, Multiknit, eswegee 2000 series

Major Markets
Interlinings, automotives, filtration, coating substrates, filtration, substrates, noise reduction barriers, secondary carpet backings, electrical insulation

With end use markets split evenly between interlinings and technical applications, Textilgruppe Hof, Hof/
Saale, Germany, experienced an 8% sales increase in its roll goods business in 2001. This sales increase was achieved despite a slowdown in the European economy during the fourth quarter last year that has continued into 2002. After failing to grow in 2000, Hof’s sales in the interlinings segment also remained flat in 2001 due to a combination to an overall weak economy and lower demand for interlinings. This situation, however, has begun to look up and the company expects to see improved performance for the remainder of 2002.
 
The company’s interlinings market remained stable throughout 2001 and has since begun to pick up again. “We are already seeing progress,” said Manfred Knieling, managing director at eswegee.  “During the first half of 2002, we went back to what we consider ‘normal’ business because we managed to increase our marketshare, despite the automotive industry’s manufacturing being on a lower level.” The company’s major market for interlinings is in Europe, primarily throughout Romania and Poland.
 
As for technical industries, this segment is seeing double digit growth with an increase of about 10% since last year, according to Mr. Knieling. Technical applications are responsible for 50% of the company’s sales, while the remaining 50% are derived from the interlinings market. Within its technical applications segment, 90% of Textilgruppe Hof’s sales are derived from the automotive industry, while the remaining 10% come from other markets such as filtration and composite structures.
 
The company’s U.S. subsidiary, Hof Textiles, Lincolnton, NC, had an approximate 20% increase in sales to technical applications because of new products and customers. As a result of exports, however, technical application sales in Europe have recently declined, due to weakened demand in the automotives industry. “Our growth in the technical nonwovens business was more than 10% for most of 2001,” Mr. Knieling explained. “But during the last two months of 2001, the business slowed down, especially in the automotives industry, due to less demand from the consumers.”
 
To keep up with the economy, Hof will rely on new investments slated to be complete during the next two years. “We are looking to improve our quality, productivity and capacity,” Mr. Knieling said. The company has already begun to add new investments onto its older lines. So far, five million dollars has already been invested into improvements for eswegee’s older lines. “It is more important for us to offer higher quality, improved productivity and increased capacity to generate more competition,” Mr. Kneiling explained. Aside from updating its older equipment, the company is planning on investing in new nonwovens production with finishing machines but won’t give any specific details.
 
Last year, the company completed the last part of a DM 30 million, three-year investment program for its production facilities in Hof/Saale, Germany, Mittweida, Germany and Lincolnton, NC. This initiative included new finishing equipment, wider lines and other capacity improvements at the eswegee plant for interlinings and technical applications, as well as a new line for technical applications. With this large scale capital investment plan  now officially complete, company executives are seeing positive results. “This latest investment program has helped us increase our capacity and productivity and has delivered improved product quality and profit,” said Mr. Kneiling. “In other words, it has made us more competitive in this industry.”


Location: Hof/Saale, Germany

Sales: $71 Million

Description: Eswegee Vliesstoffe GmbH
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Hof/Saale Germany
Telephone: 49-9281-490
E-mail: info@eswegee.com
Web: www.textilgruppe.com

Techtex GmbH Vliesstoffe
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Mittweida, Germany
Telephone: 49-3727-9530
E-mail: info@techtex.com

Hof Textiles, Inc.
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Lincolnton, NC 28093
Telephone: 704-732-3525
E-mail: info@hotextiles.com

Key Personnel
Manfred Knieling, managing director; Rudolf Scholtter, managing director; Detlev Käppel, managing director—Techtex, sales director, technical nonwovens; Gunther Hoffman, president—Hof Textiles, Inc.

ISO Status
ISO 9001, ISO 14001, VDA 6.1

Processes
Drylaid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, saturate bonded, stitchbonded

Brand Names
Variopoint, Unipoint, Unisoft, Zetafelt, Zetastitch, Zetafil, Zetawatt, Florbond, Zetabond, Zetatherm, Maliwatt, Malivlies, Kunit, Multiknit eswegee 2000 series

Major Markets
Interlinings, automotives, filtration, coating substrates, filtration, substrates, noise reduction barriers, secondary carpet backings, electrical insulation, foam replacement for car interiors

Sales remained flat on increased exports and decreased domestic sales for German roll goods producers eswegee, Hof/Saale, Germany. The company currently sells about 55% of its output outside of Germany compared to 53% in 2001. This increase has largely been credited to increased demand in Eastern European countries including Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Lithuania, where Hof has enlarged its sales network and imported its organizational structures, according to managing director Manfred Knieling.
 
By end use, Hof’s business is split into two categories, apparel interlinings and industrial. In 2001, these two segments were approximately equal to one but declines in inerlinings sales increased the industrial side’s percentage in 2002, according to executives. “Interlinings sales went down 9% in 2002, mainly due to the weak economy in Germany and other European Union countries as well as a significant number of bankruptcies of both domestic and international garment manufacturers,” explained Detlev Käppel, sales director of technical nonwovens. “It has almost been impossible to regain the volumes that we have lost due to bankruptcies within a short period of time.”
 
This situation has been exacerbated by the extreme pricing pressures put upon nonwovens manufacturers in the face of a general overcapacity situation within the interlinings segment, he added.
 
Conversely, sales in the industrial segment were described as acceptable in 2002, charting a slight increase over last year. Hof was able to strengthen its market position on new projects and products with the majority of products targeting automotives. In automotives, Hof’s product range is diverse includes hoodliners, dash liners, headliners, package trays and trunk applications as well as carpet backings, foam replacement nonwovens for car seating fabrics and nonwovens for pressure sensitive tapes. Beyond automotives, industrial markets include filtration, noise reduction, carpet backings and electrical insulation.
 
“The growth of technical sales was continuous in 2002,” Mr. Knieling explained. “We will continue to focus on more technical applications rather than ‘me too’ products for the future.”
 
The industrial business has also been augmented through a $15 million, three-year investment program at Hof’s three production sites in Hof/Saale and Mittweida, Germany and Lincolnton, NC. Including new finishing equipment, wider lines and other capacity improvements for both interlinings and technical applications as well as a new line for technical applications, this project, which was completed 2002 is helping the company defend its market position for interlinings as well as industrial segments.
 
Now that this project is complete, the company is focusing on another investment program, this time targeting capacity expansion as well as equipment refurbishment. “All of the plants will be affected evenly,” Mr. Käppel explained. “The investments are planned to help both segments—interlinings and industrial— to enhance quality, lower cost and give us the chance to grow into new areas with new products,” Mr. Kappel explained.
 
As for the size of the investment, executives would only say that it was in the double-digit million dollar range.
 
Also contributing to Hof’s future growth is a range of multi-axial fabrics for the composites industry. Developed in 2001, these products are used in the blades of wind generators in sports, boating and aeronautics. Made from filament rovings, which are laid into different angles and reinforced with stitching, these products comprise glass, carbon or other aromatic polyamides. “There are a lot of synergies between these products and our existing nonwoven products,” Mr. Knieling explained.
 
Additional new products include materials for fusing fabrics, which were developed on Hof’s double-spot coating machines, nonflammable nonwovens for automotive applications and Dilour stitchbonded nonwovens for a range of technical markets.

Location: Hof/Saale, Germany

Sales: $81 Million

Description: Eswegee Vliesstoffe GmbH
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Fabrikzeile 21, 95208 Hof/Saale Germany
Tel: 49-9281-490
E-mail: info@eswegee.com
Web: www.textilgruppe.com

Techtex GmbH Vliesstoffe
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Mittweida, Germany
Tel: 49-3727-9530
E-mail: info@techtex.com
Web: www.textilgruppehof.com

Hof Textiles, Inc.
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Lincolnton
Tel: 704-732-3525
E-mail: info@hoftextiles.com
Web: www.textilgruppe.com

Key Personnel
Manfred Knieling, managing director; Rudolf Scholtter, managing director; Detlev Käppel, managing director—Techtex, sales director, technical nonwovens; Gunther Hoffman, president—Hof Textiles, inc.

Plants
Hof/Saale, Germany, Mittweida, Germany, Lincolnton, NC

ISO Status
ISO 9001, ISO 14001, VDA 6.1

Processes
Drylaid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, saturate bonded, stitchbonded

Brand Names
Variopoint, Unipoint, Unisoft, Zetafelt, Zetastitch, Zetafil, Zetawatt, Florbond, Zetabond, Zetatherm, Maliwatt, Malivlies, Kunit, Multiknit eswegee 2000 series

Major Markets
Interlinings, automotives, filtration, coating substrates, noise reduction barriers, secondary carpet backings, electrical insulation, foam replacement for car interiors

Consolidated nonwovens sales in 2003 within the eswegee group, a division of Textilgruppe Hof, were $81 million, compared with $71 million last year. This rise was attributed partially to more favorable currency rates but also to gains in Hof’s industrial business. More than half, 57%, of sales were exported, showing a continued climb in the company’s export business.
 
Hof’s nonwovens business is split between interlinings, comprising 42% of total sales, and industrial, representing 58% of sales. The interlining business reported another difficult year because of weaker consumer demand, weak economies and a fashion climate demanding fewer nonwovens in interlinings. This led to some of its customers declaring bankruptcy. The company responded by strengthening and reorganizing its sales force and cost structure to adjust to current market conditions. Much of these problems are conducive to eswegee’s domestic business and the picture is much brighter for exports. Executives pointed to continued efforts to widen the company’s sales network geographically and claimed potential for future growth, particularly in Eastern Europe.
 
Problems in interlinings have not stopped eswegee from developing new products. These include “SP2C” and “EASY CARE,” two lightweight and soft interlinings with special coatings to enhance performance in fashion fabrics as well as a 100% PES-based needlefelt product line developed to fill a need for heavier interlinings, according to managing director Manfred Kneiling.
 
“According to our view, the global nonwovens industry will remain very interesting with growth potential left for specific products rather than ‘me too,’” he added. “Our goal is to provide our customers the best ‘total cost solution.’”
 
On the industrial side, sales have been on the rise and are expected to continue for the time being. Eswegee’s main market for industrial nonwovens is the automotive industry, where products are used for acoustical applications such as hoodliners, dash liners, headliners, package trays and boot applications. Recent developments include a new generation of moldable nonwovens used in trunk applications and wheel arch covers in cars. These offer a unique surface structure, less weight, good acoustics and cost competitiveness over existing products, as well as nonwovens with high temperature-resistant coatings and acoustic performance for automotives.
 
Hof’s services to the automotives business are being expanded by an ambitious, $15 million capital investment program. The plan, which will also impact the interlining portion of the business, targets all three Hof sites, in Hof/Saale and Mittweida, Germany and Lincolnton, NC. Already two lines have been added to the operation with another set to come onstream this year, according to executives.
 
“The investments are planned to help both segments, interlining and industrial, enhance quality, lower cost and give us the chance to grow into new areas with new products,” said Detlev Käppel, sales director of technical nonwovens.
 
Beyond automotives, Hof’s industrial business includes products targeting filtration, where the company is developing new composite products, and carpet backings. These markets are also benefiting from new pressure-sensitive tapes products at Hof’s stitchbonded plant Techtex GmbH Vliesstoffe in Mittweida, Germany.


Location: Hof/Saale, Germany

Sales: $91 million

Description: Textilgruppe Hof AG
Hof/Saale, Germany
Tel: 49-9281-4980
E-mail: info@eswegee.com
Web: www.textilgruppe.com

Eswegee Vliesstoff GmbH
A company of Textilgruppe Hof
Fabrikzeile 21, 95208 Hof/Saale Germany
Tel: 49-9281-490
E-mail: info@eswegee.com
Web: www.textilgruppe.com

Techtex GmbH Vliesstoffe
A company of Textilgruppe Hof AG
Mittweida, Germany
Tel: 49-3727-9530
E-mail: info@techtex.com
Web: www.textilgruppehof.com

Hof Textiles, Inc.
A company of Textilgruppe Hof AG
Lincolnton, NC
Tel: 704-732-3525
E-mail: info@hoftextiles.com
Web: www.textilgruppe.com

Key Personnel
Manfred Knieling, managing director; Rudolf Scholtter, managing director; Detlev Käppel, managing director-Techtex, sales director, technical nonwovens; Gunther Hoffmann, president-Hof Textiles, Inc.

Plants
Hof/Saale, Germany; Mittweida, Germany; Lincolnton, NC

ISO Status
ISO 9001, ISO 14001, VDA 6.1

Processes
Drylaid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, saturate bonded, stitchbonded

Brand Names
Variopoint, Unipoint, Unisoft, Zetafelt, Zetastitch, Zetafil, Zetawatt, Florbond, Zetabond, Zetatherm, Zetamold, Maliwatt, Malivlies, Kunit, Multiknit eswegee 2000 series, Bassopoint

With consolidated 2004 worldwide nonwovens sales topping $91 million, eswegee Vliesstoff Group, Hof/Saale, Germany, saw a sales increase of about 4.5% compared to 2003. The company’s domestic/export sales ratio was almost even, at 57% and 43%, respectively in 2004. Industrial markets remain Hof’s core focus and represent 60% of its business, while interlinings make up 40% of sales.
 
Similar to most roll goods producers, a major challenge for Hof this year came in the form of price increases for all raw materials across the board, from fibers to chemicals. Due to the highly competitive nature of the market, Hof found it nearly impossible to pass these increases onto customers. Furthermore, the company reports its competition has been lowering prices  to sell high volumes, regardless of performance. “The automotive industry still calls for lower prices regardless of what is going on in the raw material market,” commented sales director Detlev Kaeppel. “One result of this is most likely the frequent recalls due to quality malfunctions.”
 
Business in the interlinings sector was described as steady yet challenging due to weaker consumer demand, a tough economy and the use of fewer interlinings by the fashion industry. However, after slow first and second quarters in 2004, Hof did enjoy some increased demand resulting from new designs that use more interlinings. Unfortunately, this trend had already slowed by the end of 2004
 
Hof’s managing director Manfred Knieling predicts that domestic business for interlinings will become more difficult due to fewer remaining garment manufacturers within Germany as well as a dramatic increase in less expensive Asian textile imports (particularly from China) due to lowered import restrictions. In an effort to defend its position in the market, Hof developed a new product line with updated raw material compositions, higher qualities and extremely good bond strengths.
 
As far as exports for interlinings are concerned, Hof remains confident in its current level of success and is reaping the rewards of earlier efforts to strengthen its export division and sales support staff. As a means of securing future growth in interlinings exports, Hof has developed new products such as Bassopoint, a new generation of lightweight nonwovens characterized by a high fusing temperature range (90-130°C) to enhance the performance of fashion fabrics. “Our latest investment, a new high-speed thermal bonding line, enables us to strike back against low-cost imports,” said Mr. Knieling.
 
In the industrial nonwovens sector, Hof benefited from sales growth stemming from new projects and products. The main markets for Hof’s industrial nonwovens continue to lie within the automotive industry where products are used for acoustical applications such as hoodliners, dash liners, headliners, package trays and boot applications. In the future, Hof plans to focus on new products for filtration with its range of multiple technologies.
 
Other market segments are secondary carpet backings and pressure-sensitive tapes, which the company produces at its Techtex stitchbonding plant in Mittweida. The plant’s capacity was recently increased for new Kunit/Multiknit nonwovens to target the foam replacement market for car seats through an upgrade of an older trial machine. The expansion represents an investment of $2.4 million and bumps capacity at the Mittweida plant to 3.5 million square meters.
 
Also new in the industrial arena is a generation of moldable nonwovens used for trunk applications and wheel arch covers in cars. The products offer a unique surface structure, lower weights, good acoustics and prices that are competitive with existing products. “We have seen encouraging results with this product line, which have turned into first orders from customers,” said Mr. Käppel.
 
Another growth area for stitchbonded nonwovens is facing applications such as headliners, package trays and luggage covers. “We have seen good success here and will expand capacity for stitchbonded nonwovens at the Mittweida plant,” stated Mr. Käppel. The company plans to invest $1.5 million to add a new six meter line, which will boost capacity by three to four million square meters.
 
Other new products are nonwovens with low shrinkage rates and composites for the automotives industry. “Growth in technical sales has not yet come to an end. We have some new projects under contract that will target the U.S. automotive industry for the future and we are looking ahead with optimism,” said Mr. Käppel. Among the company’s new projects are new generations of facing products to target headliner and package tray applications as well as new concepts of trunk material for the three big U.S. OEMs.
 
Hof´s capital investments in 2004—which were in the double-digit million dollar range—focused primarily on capacity expansions for both the interlining and automotive markets at all three of the company’s plants. Although Mr. Knieling declined to offer any detailed information about these investments, he indicated that further capital investment plans are already underway in 2005.
 
“The investments are designed to help both segments— interlinings and automotives—enhance quality and lower costs. They also give us the chance to grow into new areas with new products,” Mr. Knieling commented. He added that Hof will continue to focus on its strategy in Asia for both interlinings and technical nonwovens. He referred to the company’s offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong as the first steps, with more decisions likely to follow.
 
Overall, Mr. Knieling expects the global nonwovens industry to remain very interesting with growth potential remaining for specialized rather than “me too” products. “Our goal is to provide our customers the best ‘total cost solution,” he said.

Location: Hof/Saale, Germany

Sales: $87 Million

Description: Key personnel
Poul Mikkelsen, chairman; Peter Opperman, CEO; Jack Richardson, COO; Ingo Johannsen, CFO; Michael Norboge, vice president of Personal & Home Care; Claudia De Buman, vice president of Special & Technical Applications

Plants
Asheville, NC, USA; Soultz, France; Mildenau, Germany

Processes
Hydroentangling, needlepunch

Brand names
Lidro, Norafin, Rn’S

Major markets
Wipes, Hygiene, Medical, Filtration, Packaging, Protective apparel and Automotive

Continued growth can be expected for the coming years for Jacob Holm Industries. Sales of $87 million were relatively unchanged in 2005 as the company commissioned and started production on its new spunlace line in new facilities in Asheville, NC and looked toward boosting its Special and Technical Applications (STA) unit. However, sales are expected to jump this year as the new North American spunlace line is fully commercial, according to Jacob Holm Group CEO Peter Oppermann.

“The line's real potential will be visible during the course of 2006, the qualification process of our non-standard products has just taken more time than expected in 2005; however, the sold-out position was reached at the end of the second quarter. The advantages of a very versatile, yet highly productive line being able to produce two times textile width fabrics (4.6 m line width) supported the business as expected,” Mr. Oppermann explained. Jacob Holm invested more than $50 million in this U.S. facility to accomplish two phases of business expansion in the U.S. The new line can produce 15,000 tons of spunlace material per year and will serve the wipes market, a core segment for Jacob Holm's spunlace business in Europe and North America, as well as a range of technical markets, namely filtration and protective apparel.
 
In fact, Jacob Holm’s focus on these technical areas resulted in the spin off of its technical activities under the name Jacob Holm & Sons STA, into which LD Equity invested. Jacob Holm & Sons STA announced the acquisition of Tytex in July 2006. Jacob Holm & Sons STA will employ 500 and achieve sales of $94 million. Tytex is a producer of knitted technology for global healthcare companies. Among Tytex’s key markets are adult incontinence items, hip protection, nursing mothers, bandages for wound and skin care and orthopedic solutions.
 
“We are not combining the two companies in order to produce the standard tough-action cost synergies. We intend to exploit the fact that the two companies both develop and manufacture advanced textiles based on a high knowledge content and close partnership with customers. Also, both operate in markets driven by innovation. That is why the two companies can learn from each others’ experience and together build a global platform and a broader range of solutions to offer our customers. By combining the two technologies, we will also be able to design entirely new products to spur growth,” said Christian Møller, partner with LD Equity, and Poul Martin Mikkelsen, chairman of the board of Jacob Holm & Sønner A/S in a joint statement.
 
Tytex Group will operate a subsidiary under its own name and with its own brands. Poul Martin Mikkelsen, owner of parent company Jacob Holm & Sønner A/S, will be appointed chairman of the board of directors of Jacob Holm & Sons STA while Christian Møller, Stig Løkke Pedersen, executive vice president of H. Lundbeck A/S, and Martin Mikkelsen, attorney, will also serve on the board.
 
Peter Aggersbjerg, who was the CEO of Tytex from 2001 to April 2006, will become CEO of Jacob Holm & Sons STA. He orchestrated the company’s successful transition from a contract manufacturer to an innovative, market-driven healthcare company. Per Gernow will stay on as CEO of Tytex.
 
Jacob Holm’s activities in the production of nonwovens for applications within personal hygiene, cosmetics and cleaning will continue without change. According to Eveline Geser, marketing director, this business arm has been challenged by pricing concerns and retailer pressures.

However, Jacob Holm has been making strides in developing specialty wipes as well as continuing to improve its productivity. “Supported by one of the most versatile and complete spunlace nonwovens production assets and an in-depth understanding of market requirements Jacob Holm has in close cooperation with its clients developed solutions providing an opportunity to differentiate in a highly competitive market. The utilization of specialty fibers, composite structures as well as customized patterning helped that initiative,” Ms. Geser added.


Location: Hof/Saale, Germany

Sales: $90 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Harald Stini, managing director; Rudolf Schlotter, managing director; Detlev Käppel, managing director—Techtex and Global sales director eswegee, technical nonwovens; Lothar Hackler, president—Hof Textiles, Inc.

Plants
Hof/Saale, Germany; Mittweida, Germany; Lincolnton, NC

ISO Status
ISO 9001, ISO 14001, VDA 6.1

Processes
Drylaid, thermal bonded, needlepunched, saturate bonded, stitchbonded, spunlace

Brand Names
Variopoint, Unipoint, Unisoft, Zetafelt, Zetastitch, Zetafil, Zetawatt, Florbond, Zetabond, Zetajet, Zetatherm, Zetamold, Maliwatt, Malivlies, Kunit, Multiknit eswegee 2000 series, Bassopoint

Launching a brand new nonwovens technology, unveiling a joint venture in India and building a new production facility has kept eswegee Vliesstoff Group, Hof/Saale, Germany, quite busy this year. The company’s initial foray in the spunlace market brings the debut of a new brand of spunlace nonwovens, Zetajet, which will be produced on a new line in Reichenbach, Germany. Located between the company's Hof/Saale and Mittweida plants in the state of Saxony, the 12,000 square meter greenfield plant, which came onstream in January, is part of the company's eswegee business and employs about 30 people.
 
The new facility represents an investment of €25 million and capacity on the new line will be several thousand tons. The company describes the spunlace configuration as a new set-up for this technology. “Our understanding is this kind of machinery is totally new,” said managing director Harald Stini, who has taken over the company’s reigns following the retirement of Manfred Knieling. “We will use our expertise in technical markets to further expand our product range,"" he said. Materials made on the new spunlace line will target automotive, filtration and other specialty end uses. As the plant itself uses only one-quarter of the available land, there is plenty of room for expansion, an issue eswegee plans to address as the need arises.
 
The company expects the new line, which has not yet reached full utilization levels, to be running full-swing by mid-2007. “We want to move forward in a synchronized fashion and are in the process of setting up three shifts,“ explained Techtex managing director Detlev Käppel. He referred to the highly flexible new line as a multifunctional system that can achieve a variety of different technical properties in terms of tensile strengths, elongations and additional finishing/coating treatments.
 
For eswegee, sales outside of the shrinking apparel/interlinings market remain the driving force for the company. Currently, non-apparel sales generate more than half compared to the total revenue of Hof’s nonwoven group.
 
Stemming from its intensified focus on technical nonwovens, another strategic initiative underway at eswegee is building an Asian platform. “Suppliers need strategic platforms all around the world, particularly in the automotive market. That’s why we must have production in Asia,” opined Mr. Käppel. “Automotive production is increasingly shifting to Asia. Last year China produced 7.2 million cars but over the next two years, China’s goal is 14 million cars. Compare that with Germany, which manufactured 5.8 million cars in 2006. Every major car company is setting up production in Asia,” he said.
 
As a result of this strategy, in June 2006 eswegee teamed up with Indian nonwovens manufacturer Supreme Nonwovens in a joint venture to supply both interlinings and industrial products in Asia. The Mumbai-based company runs a plethora of nonwovens facilities throughout India and has reportedly enjoyed double-digit growth every year. “Supreme Nonwovens is a family-owned company, so we have a similar way of thinking,” commented Mr. Stini. “They have their specific market and culture and we would like to leverage that. If we can gain from it, we will,” he said.