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Toray Advanced Materials


Location: Seoul, Korea

Sales: $62 MILLION

Description: Plant Locations
Gumi, Kyungsang-Bukdo, South Korea

Key Personnel
Y.K. Lee/President and CEO, Y.K. Kim, senior vice president; Shigeto Fukuda, senior vice president

Processes
Spunbond PP, PET

Brand Names
Jesbon (PP), Techbon (PET), Airbon (protective apparel)

Major Markets
Hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filter,  PP/PE bicomponent, geotextile

New to this year’s report is Toray Saehan, Inc. (TSI), a joint venture founded in December 1999 by Japan’s Toray Industries and Korea’s Saehan Industries. The company manufactures spunbond nonwoven fabrics as well as polyester films, polyester chips, filaments and information/technology-related products. Of the company’s $453 million 2003 sales, $62 million involved nonwovens.
 
TSI currently operates six spunbond lines in Korea. Five of these are polypropylene-based while one is polyester. The company’s total capacity is 54,000 tons and its technology includes SMS, SSMMS, bicomponent layers and multilayered material for lighter weight nonwovens. With exports accounting for 52% of sales, major markets beyond Korea include Japan, Taiwan and China, where its strength is largely in hygiene. TSI has a 40% share of Korea’s hygiene market and 15% of Japan’s.

 “As the Japanese hygiene market requires quality-oriented products, TSI has put a lot of effort into quality control,” said company spokesman H.B. Lee. “This means that the company’s quality can be widely accepted by major Asian hygiene markets. TSI is committed to constant quality control, which  has allowed it to be one of Asia’s most quickly growing company with flexible research and development and aggressive marketing forces.”
 
While its parent company, Toray Industries operates a 4000-ton-per-year spunbond line in Japan, to date, TSI does not have a facility outside of Korea. This could change. In May 2004, it announced it had launched a feasibility study related to starting a new line near Shanghai in 2006. “China has market penetration ratios of around 4% in baby diapers and 55% in sanitary napkins,” Mr. Lee explained. “China clearly has a big potential for growth in disposable markets.”
 
Beyond China, TSI is constantly examining Asia’s developing countries and their potential for growth in the hygiene areas. Involved in this plan is the recent introduction of bicomponent items for hygiene markets as well as widening product ranges in the medical area. “As Asia’s consumption of disposable products is low in comparison with developed countries, this means we can grow faster than in other areas,” Mr. Lee said.
Location: Seoul, Korea

Sales: $80 million

Description: Plant Locations
Gumi, Kyungsang-Bukdo, South Korea

Key Personnel
Y.K. Lee/President and CEO, Y.K. Kim, senior vice president; Shigeto Fukuda, senior vice president

Processes
Spunbond PP, PET

Brand Names
Jesbon (PP), Techbon (PET), Airbon (protective apparel)

Major Markets
Hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filter, PP/PE bicomponent, geotextiles

A joint venture between Japan’s Toray Industries and Korea’s Saehan Industries, Toray Saehan produces spunbond nonwoven fabrics as well as polyester films, polyester chips, filaments and information/technology-related products. In 2004, TSI enjoyed a significant increase in sales volume of approximately 30% compared to the previous year. While half of the company’s sales target the Korean market, approximately one quarter (27%) is generated from sales to Japan and 23% come from other markets.
 
“Sales increased dramatically in 2004,” stated company spokesperson H.B. Lee, “but earnings fell due to the sharp rise of raw material prices, particularly polypropylene resins.” The company’s new polypropylene spunbond production line, which came onstream at the end of 2003, reportedly contributed to much of the increase in nonwovens sales turnover in 2004. Looking forward, TSI is optimistic that sales will grow in 2005, with a planned increase in the 20% range. TSI will target earnings improvements in 2005 through its high-end product portfolio as well as sales turnover.
 
Representing 14% of the company’s total turnover, the nonwovens sector represents a small but important market for TSI. A steady capacity level of 54,000 tons was maintained in 2004 on the company’s six spunbond lines in Korea. Five of these are polypropylene-based while one is polyester. Its technology includes SMS, SSMMS, bicomponent layers and multilayered material for lighter weight nonwovens.

In discussing current market conditions, Mr. Lee said that most nonwoven roll goods producers suffered from consistent raw material price hikes in 2004. “However,” he noted, “China experienced such a sharp increase in demand in nonwovens sectors that additional capacity increases at this moment and in the future are possible.” Mr. Lee also forecast that market competition will be much more severe among roll goods producers.
 
For TSI, the key to success in this highly competitive environment has been to make the most of its status as an Asian-based operation. “This advantage allows us to provide better services and products to major Asian hygiene conglomerates,” opined Mr. Lee. “We offer Asia’s largest nonwovens capacity at a single manufacturing site.” He added that the company provides customized quality control with QRS (quick response system) for the benefit of its customers.
 
In China, a market where TSI’s sales have doubled in the last year, economic growth is leading to rapid expansion in the hygiene sector. TSI plans to focus on the Chinese market as a new investment target and is underway with a feasibility study examining upcoming investments in this region. The company plans to make a decision on Chinese expansion by the end of the year. “Economic growth within the Asian region will boost hygiene demand and will be a positive factor in our capacity expansion plans,” Mr. Lee predicted. Specifically, TSI plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Nantong, China near Shanghai with a new line that was expected to be operational in 2006 but has been postponed to 2007.
 
In the hygiene sector, which remains TSI’s primary focus, the company has launched hydrophilic bicomponent spunbonded nonwovens for hygiene applications. The new offerings are a result of efforts to expand these products into new markets. Hygiene is the application area where most of TSI’s nonwovens volume is directed, specifically for use as coverstock for disposable baby diapers, adult incontinence products and sanitary protection products.
 
TSI is currently supplying a limited volume of SMMS grades to the high-end medical/protective markets. With limited production capacity, TSI now only works with select customers but expansion in these markets is expected in the near future. “As China is the hub market for medical converters, we are monitoring Chinese medical nonwovens market growth. New investments will be focused on hygiene and medical applications,” said Mr. Lee. Meanwhile, TSI has a leading marketshare in domestic agricultural applications and, in geotextiles, TSI supplies its polyester spunbonded nonwovens to its domestic market.
 
In the short-term future, TSI intends to maintain the strength of its domestic marketshare in hygiene, agriculture and industrial applications. “With exports accounting for 50% of sales, we plan to support most of Asia’s hygiene manufacturers,” said Mr. Lee. TSI also plans to strengthen its position through consistent quality control, new quality development and customer satisfaction initiatives. “With our advanced technical background and stabilized financial status, we will be able to better provide for Asia’s nonwovens customers.”
Location: Seoul, Korea

Sales: $99 million

Description: Plant Locations
Gumi, Kyungsang-Bukdo, South Korea

ISO Status
ISO-9001: 1999; ISO-14001 (environmental certification): 1999; ISO-18001 (operational certification): 1993

Key Personnel
Y.K. Lee, president and CEO; Y.K. Kim, senior vice president; Shigeto Fukuda, senior vice president; W.C. Hwang, director

Processes
Spunbond PP (SS, SMS, SMMS), PET

Brand Names
Jesbon (PP), Techbon (PET), Airbon (protective apparel)

Major Markets
Hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, PP/PE bicomponents, geotextiles

Toray Saehan Inc. is a joint venture company between Japan’s Toray Industries and Korea’s Saehan. With company-wide sales hitting the $653 million mark in 2005, TSI’s nonwoven sales totaled $99 million or 15% of the company’s total turnover last year, representing 24% growth. Despite this dramatic increase in sales in 2005, TSI’s earnings did not meet company expectations due to the sharp rise in polypropylene resin prices. “Our newly installed polypropylene spunbond production line, which came online at the end of 2003, contributed to much of the increase in sales turnover in 2005,” offered company spokesperson H.B. Lee. “Rising oil prices are continuing to negatively impact producers of polypropylene-based nonwovens this year.”
 
TSI’s geographic sales regions span the globe, with 47% of business generated in Korea, 21% coming from Japan and other markets representing 32%. Export markets continue to make up just more than half (53%) of TSI’s total sales volume. Major export regions include Japan, China, Taiwan and Asean countries. In Japan, TSI now holds a 15-20% marketshare in the hygiene market, where it supplies quality-oriented services. “Our fast growth in Asia comes from constant quality control, flexible R&D and aggressive marketing forces,” said Mr. Lee.
 
Outside of Korea, TSI’s parent company Toray Industries Inc. operates one spunbond polyester line in Japan with an annual capacity of 4000 tons. The line primarily targets geotextile and industrial sectors. (Toray Japan’s sales are broken out of TSI’s annual nonwovens sales results and are therefore not included in its Top Company sales figure.)
 
In its Korean domestic market, TSI holds a 40% marketshare in the hygiene sector and supplies the major market players. TSI has also attained about two-thirds of the marketshare in Korea for agricultural products and serves approximately 40% of the Korean industrial composites market.
 
TSI operates five polypropylene spunbond lines and one polyester spunbond line. According to the company, TSI boasts the largest single plant capacity in Asia with an annual production rate of 54,000 tons on one location. Through state-of-the-art SSMMS and bicomponent technology, TSI fabricates top quality spunbond products including lighter weight multilayered nonwovens featuring SMS, SSMMS and bicomponent layers. All of TSI’s spunbond facilities house Reifenhauser machines with S, SS, SMS and SSMMS capabilities. Additionally, TSI has been successfully producing PP/PE bicomponent products on a PP-5 machine since 2003.
 
In response to (current and projected) rapid growth in the Chinese hygiene market, TSI has completed a feasibility study for investing in a new production facility in China.
 
“As living standards improve, the marketshare of nonwovens is increasing in areas such as hygiene, medical, household, clothing and shoes. Since China has substantial potential growth in disposable markets, we are going to begin production in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China in late 2007,” explained Mr. Lee. “We currently provide quality goods to most of the major hygiene producers in China. As we cross the threshold into the Chinese market, we will play a leading role in the growth of the Chinese nonwovens industry.”
 
Outside of hygiene, another key end use market is medical. “We are developing and widening categories step by step for medical markets,” offered Mr. Lee. “Because Asia’s consumption of disposable nonwoven fabrics is low in comparison with developed countries, we can grow faster than other areas.”
 
In agricultural applications, spunbond uses are becoming more diverse as farming technologies evolve. “As a supplier of quality agricultural materials, TSI helps farmers increase crop yields and boost productivity. We provide fabrics for curtains, thermal covers, rice seedbed and red pepper mulching, tunnel mulching and alpine vegetable mulching,” said Mr. Lee.
 
TSI’s spunbond fabrics have also recently found varied uses in commodity-type applications. Toray Saehan’s major polypropylene spunbond products include meltblown spunbond, SMS, SMMS, SSMMS as well as polyester spunbond including embossed and needlepunched spunbond.
Location: Seoul, Korea

Sales: $115 million

Description: Plant Locations
Gumi, Kyungsang-Bukdo, South Korea; Nantong, JIangsu Province, China (February 2008)

ISO Status
ISO-9001: 1999; ISO-14001 (environmental certification): 1999; ISO-18001 (operational certification): 1993

Key Personnel
Y.K. Lee, president and CEO; Y.K. Kim, senior vice president; Shigeto Fukuda, senior vice president; J.N. Kim, president of TPN; W.C. Hwang, director of TPN

Processes
Spunbond PP (SS, SSS, SMS, SMMS), PET

Brand Names
Jesbon (PP), Techbon (PET), Airbon (protective apparel)

Major Markets
Hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, PP/PE bicomponents, geotextiles

A joint venture company of Toray Industries of Japan and Saehan of Korea, spunbond specialist Toray Saehan, Inc. (TSI) saw a 16% jump in sales in 2006 to $115 million, representing 16% of the company’s total turnover. TSI’s dollar-based turnover figure compares favorably to an increase of only 6% in Korean currency due to the weakness of the dollar versus the Korean won. In 2006 the won appreciated 8%.
 
Overall, the company was disappointed in its earnings performance in 2006 due not only to the sharp appreciation of the Korean won against the U.S. dollar but also elevated raw material prices for polypropylene resin. In response to these conditions, TSI increased its Korean domestic marketshare and shifted away from less attractive export markets. “Producers of polypropylene-based nonwovens experienced the highest-ever resin prices last year due to oil price hikes,” commented company spokesperson H.B. Lee. “This hurt most manufacturers in 2006 and we are very concerned about a repeat of this trend in the second half of this year.”
 
At 54,000 tons, annual capacity levels remained steady this year for TSI. The company continues to operate five polypropylene-based spunbond nonwovens lines and a single polyester spunbond line in Korea, which, according to TSI, represents the largest single plant capacity in Asia. Through its state-of-the-art technology, the company fabricates top-quality spunbond materials including multiple layers for lightweight nonwovens with SMS, SSMMS and bicomponent layers. For backsheet applications featuring enhanced softness, TSI offers SSS products while the company’s SMS products target medical end uses such as gauze, surgical drapes and gowns.
 
Currently, TSI’s geographic sales regions span the globe, with 47% of business generated in Korea, 24% coming from Japan and other markets representing 29%. With exports representing more than half (53%) of its total business, major export regions include Japan, China, Taiwan and the ASEAN countries. In Japan, TSI now holds a 15-20% marketshare in the hygiene market where it supplies quality-oriented services. Of TSI’s total business, hygiene continues to represent about two-thirds.
 
Beyond its Korean base, TSI plans to focus on the growing Chinese hygiene market as a new investment target. In line with this strategy, the company has established a new subsidiary called TPN, Toray Polytech Nantong, and is building a $60 million SMMS plant in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, near Shanghai, which is expected to reach commercial production levels by February 2008. Heading up the new operation are J.N. Kim, president, and W.C Hwang, director. While Mr. Kim specializes in new plant construction and operations, Mr. Hwang has more than 15 years of technical experience in the production of nonwovens. “Mr. Kim and Mr. Hwang will play an important role in the start-up of our TPN operation in China,” said Mr. Lee. (For more on TSI’s Chinese expansion, see Nonwovens News, page 16.)
 
According to Mr. Lee, China had a market penetration ratio of approximately 10-12% in the baby diaper sector and 65% in the feminine hygiene market in 2006. “China's per capita GDP grew to $2000 in 2006,” he said. “As living standards improve, the marketshare of nonwovens is increasing in areas such as hygiene, medical, household, apparel and shoes.
 
Outside of hygiene and medical segments, uses of TSI’s spunbonds in agricultural applications are becoming more diverse as farming technologies evolve. “As a supplier of quality agricultural materials, TSI helps farmers increase crop yields and boost productivity. We provide fabrics for curtains, thermal covers, rice seedbed and red pepper mulching, tunnel mulching and alpine vegetable mulching,” said Mr. Lee.
 
TSI’s spunbond fabrics are also finding varied uses in commodity-type applications. Toray Saehan’s major polypropylene spunbond products include meltblown spunbond, SMS, SMMS, SSMMS as well as polyester spunbond including embossed and needlepunched spunbond.
 
Wrapping up, Mr. Lee said that TSI enjoys the largest share of the Southeast Asian spunbond market. “As we steadily expand our capabilities, reducing the weight of spunbonds and increasing our production capacity, we aim to achieve the top position in the global spunbonded nonwovens market.
Location: SEOUL, KOREA

Sales: $123 million

Description: Plant Locations
Gumi, Kyungsang-Bukdo, South Korea; Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China (March 2008)

ISO Status
ISO-9001: 1999; ISO-14001 (environmental certification): 1999; ISO-18001 (operational certification): 1993

Key Personnel
Y.K. Lee, president and CEO; Y.K. Kim, senior vice president; Yasuhiko Tanabe, senior vice president; J.N. Kim, president of TPN; W.C. Hwang, director of TPN

Processes
Spunbond PP (SS, SSS, SMS, SMMS), PET

Brand Names
Livsen (PP/PET), Airborn (protective apparel). TSI recently launched a new global brand of ""Livsen, essence of your life.""

Major Markets
Hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, PP/PE bicomponents, geotextiles

With nonwoven roll goods sales in 2007 hitting the $123 million mark, spunbond specialist Toray Saehan, Inc. (TSI) attributes its 7% turnover increase to product mix, rationalization and enhanced productivity. A joint venture company of Toray Industries of Japan and Saehan of Korea, TSI's company-wide revenue reached $772 million last year, with nonwovens representing approximately 16% of this total. The company's sales are split nearly evenly between exports and its domestic (Korean) market.  
 
Approximately two-thirds of its nonwovens business targets hygiene markets. ""Strong demand for hygiene, medical and protective apparel products in the Asian region has increased our presence,"" observed company spokesperson H.B. Lee. He added that robust demand in agricultural and industrial markets created stable growth for the company as well.
 
From a geographical standpoint, half of TSI's sales target Korea, while the Japanese market represents 17% of sales and other markets make up one-third (or 33%) of TSI’s sales. Worldwide capacity is holding steady at about 54,000 tons annually.
 
Commenting on the state of the nonwovens industry in Asia, Mr. Lee said that there have been no spunmelt capacity expansions in China in 2007 or 2008 except by its subsidiary TPN (Toray Polytech Nantong), which operates at the company's new $60 million plant near Shanghai. “This investment by TPN will absorb and meet strong demand in THE hygiene and medical markets in China.”
 
The new state-of-the-art facility, which started commercial production in March, houses a Reifenhauser RF-4, SXMMS 4.2 meter line with a production capacity of 18,000 tons per year. The SMMS products are treated to offer softness and hydrophilicity. “With technical expertise in spunbond nonwovens from TSI Korea, TPN has stabilized the SXMMS line operation. TPN is scheduled to reach full-scale production during the upcoming fourth quarter,” reported Mr. Lee. “Major markets are hygienic and medical applications in China.”
 
As for its goals for the near future, TPN is underway with plans to install a second multi-beam production line during the fourth quarter of 2010 to meet growing demand in the Chinese market. “Details on the production process will be settled in the near future. This plan is in line with our long-term global operation strategy.” Mr. Lee added that TPN expects to receive final approval at the board of directors’ meeting in the final quarter of 2008.
 
“TPN will play an important role in delivering valuable products to major clients in China. With continuous expansions in 2010 and 2013, TPN will serve Chinese domestic clients in hygiene and medical segments. Thus, TSI Korea and TPN China will create a great synergy and grow to be a leading supplier of spunbonded nonwovens in Asia.”
Location: SEOUL, KOREA


Sales: $144 Million


Description: Plant Locations
Gumi, Kyungsang-Bukdo, South Korea; Nantong, JIangsu Province, China

ISO Status
ISO-9001: 2009; ISO-14001 (environmental certification): 2004; ISO-18001 (operational certification): 2007

Key Personnel
Y.K. Lee, president and CEO; Y.K. Kim, senior vice president; Yasuhiko Tanabe, senior vice president; J.N. Kim, president of TPN; W.C. Hwang, director of TPN

Processes
Spunbond PP (SS, SSS, SMS, SMMS and bicomponent), PET (embossed and needlepunched)

Brand Names
Livsen (PP/PET)

Major Markets
Hygiene, medical and protective markets, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, PP/PE bicomponents, geotextiles

Spunbond specialist Toray Saehan, Inc. (TSI), a joint venture company of Japan-based Toray Industries and Saehan of Korea, earned $144 million in nonwoven roll goods sales in 2008. The company achieved an impressive 20% jump in sales over 2007 based on Korean won, which it attributes to a substantial hike in selling prices in 2008 due to unstable raw material pricing as well as the benefit of exchange rate improvements.

While sales from its Toray Polytech Nantong (TPN) Chinese subsidiary represented $17 million of its roll goods total last year, TSI’s portion of the business generated $127 million in nonwovens revenue (17% of TSI’s total turnover). With approximately 75% of products targeting hygiene markets around the globe, TSI represents 5% of Toray Group’s overall sales.

In terms of the company’s geographic sales breakdown, sales to Korea totaled $55 million in 2008, Japanese market sales were $25 million, sales in China represented $17 million and other regions totaled $47 million last year. TSI exports nearly half (47%) of goods from its Seoul, Korea base versus TPN’s output, which exclusively targets local Chinese markets.

While conditions in the Asian nonwovens industry were tolerable in the second half of 2008, TSI reported that rapid declines in the third quarter impacted its business substantially. In fact, the all-time high cost of poly propylene resin decreased profits to the point that many spunbond makers (Including TSI) placed all plans for expansions and new investments on hold. This holding pattern kept TSI’s annual capacity steady at 54,000 tons while TPN’s spunbond output in China was 18,000 tons on its new Reifenhauser SXMMS 4.2 meter line, which reached full capacity levels in July. A firm decision on when TPN will add a second multi-beam production line is expected in October, but for now production is slated to begin in early 2011. According to the company, the move is part of a strategy to make the most of ongoing baby diaper market growth in China.

For the future, TSI plans to continue to promote new SMMS bicomponent (PP/PE) and copolymer-based nonwovens featuring improved softness for hygiene and specialty medical end uses. Other key goals for the company are developing additional value-added, specialty products and expanding the stabilization of TPN’s second beam.
Location: Seoul, Korea

Sales: $150 million

Description: Plants
Gumi, Kyungsang-Bukdo, South Korea; Nantong, Jiangsu, Province, China

Key Personnel
Y.K. Lee, president and CEO;  Y.K. Kim, Vice president/head of fiber division; Yasuhiko Tanabe, senior director/fiber division
W.S. Chun, Senior vice president/Spunbond division; J.N. Kim, president of TPN; W.C. Hwang, director of TPN

Processes
Spunbond PP (SS, SSS, SMS, SMMS, bicomponent), PET (embossed and needlepunched)

Brand names
Livsen

Major Markets
Hygiene, medical, protective markets, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, PP/PE bicomponents, geotextiles

With a new name and an ambitious growth strategy, Korean nonwovens producer Toray Advanced Materials Korea (TAK), formerly known as Toray Saehan, continues to focus on Asia for its nonwovens growth. The company officially changed its name on May 1, two years after its parent company, Toray Industries, purchased former partner Saehan’s stake in the venture. At the same time, the company announced a new growth program, called Vision 2020, targeting sales of $3 billion by 2020. These sales will not only be in nonwovens but in a number of to-be-launched areas including water treatment, carbon fiber and renewable energy.
Within the group’s nonwovens business, which reported sales of $150 million last year, investment in spunmelt technology continues. The company currently makes 54,000 tons of nonwovens in Korea as well as 18,000 tons at its Chinese subsidiary, Toray Polytech Nantong. Executives expect future investment in China or other parts of Asia is more likely than in Korea.
“We are preparing aggressive investment in China and Asia based on demand situation for the long term. The Korea mill does not have expansion plan but it will place more focus on high value products for better profits for the short- and mid-term strategies,” said Jin Kim, southeast Asian market manager for the spunbond export team.
In China, TPN reported that line number one, a Reifenhauser SXMMS 4.2 meter line, reached full capacity last year, supplying 18,000 tons of nonwovens to the Chinese and other Asian markets. Plans for a second Chinese line were temporarily shelved by the company due to raw material price challenges and economic concerns but sources say a second line, with 21,000 tons of capacity, will start in April 2011. “This plan is not only to cover local Chinese market growth but also to cover fast growing Asian markets including Korea, Japan and Taiwan which are already matured markets in the hygiene business,” Mr. Kim said.
While the company had been serving the Chinese market, including several global players, for some time, before opening the Chinese mill in 2008, sales volume has increased significantly there since then, Mr. Kim added. Currently, about 19% of its total sales are conducted in China. Korea represents 37% of sales while the rest of Asia contributes 44%.
From an economic standpoint, the company notices several big differences between the different regions of Asia—Far East, Southeast, Central and Southwest—and therefore business strategies reflect these differences. For example, Japanese customers are looking for better and more unique nonwoven-based products than customers in other parts of Asia.
In addition to meeting different appetites for nonwoven customers, a challenge doing business in Asia is responding to the explosive growth of the business. “We expect and see that the personal care market will grow continuously in Asia and our concern is how we can catch up with this explosive growth in the hygiene market,” Mr. Kim said.
In fact, this growth—among both global players and local converters—is so strong that the company fears its second Chinese line, despite its large size, won’t be able to meet demand.
“Our first priority is the Chinese market at this moment and our expansion plan is related to China’s hygiene market growth. Therefore, it is obvious that we will continue to invest in China. In the meantime, we are also considering investing outside of Korea and China since we are being informed that many of our customers are seriously thinking of investing into other countries where they are not doing their business,” Mr. Kim said.

Seoul, South Korea
www.torayamk.com
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $224 million

Key Personnel: Y.K. Lee, president and CEO; W.S. Chun, vice president/head of fiber division; Hitoshi Takeuchi, senior director/fiber division; W.C. Hwang, senior director/fiber division; J.N. Kim, president of TPN; Y.K. Kim, president of TPJ

Plants: Korea, China, Indonesia

Processes: Spunbond PP (SS, SSS, SMS, SSMMS, SMMMS, bicomponent), PET (embossed and needlepunched)

Brands: Livsen

Major Markets: Hygiene, medical, protective apparel, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, construction, geotextile

Sales surged 20% at Toray Advanced Materials Korea (TAK) thanks to the successful startup of a second spunmelt line in Nantong, China in early 2011. The company’s second Chinese line added 20,000 tons of capacity to the Chinese operation, bringing the total output to 38,000 tons per year. A third line is currently ramping up and expected to add another 20,000 tons. This third line makes Toray Polytech Nantong, the Chinese company, the largest supplier of spunbond nonwovens in China, allowing the company to capitalize on the region’s strong growth potential.

“We estimate that the Asian market is growing for high quality polypropylene spunbond by more than 10% due to high demand for baby diapers,” says Evan Lee, deputy general manager of the fiber marketing team. “This has made many polypropylene spunbond makers expand capacity to dominate in the growing Asian market and do more business in the Asian market. But we have a strong relationship with our customers and a good sales network that can continue to grow.”

Elsewhere in Asia, TAK established an Indonesian company, Toray Polytech Jakarta, in 2011. At the time of the investment, executives said Indonesia was chosen because of its large population and strong economic growth.

The new site’s first line, a five-beam polypropylene-based spunbond line is expected to be complete in March 2013, manufacturing 20,000 tons of nonwovens per year and significantly broadening TAK’s footprint in Asia. “Once we finish this expansion, TAK can cover all of the Asian countries more promptly and safely from our three production sites in East Asia, China and South Asia,” says Lee.

TAK’s original manufacturing operation in Gumi, South Korea, manufactured 43,000 tons of polypropylene spunbond nonwovens for the hygiene market in a number of Asian markets, including Japan, Korea and China. While the company has not made any plans to expand its Korean factory recently because of the region’s maturity in the polypropylene spunbond market, on the other hand, the company has operated its second polyester spunbond line for the geotextile, construction, filtration and other industrial markets since August 2012.

All of this investment is being driven largely by growth in the Asian economy, Lee says. “Because personal income in China, Indonesia and Vietnam is increasing quickly, the baby diaper market in Asia is also growing so quickly and this makes  diaper makers invest aggressively. They want to have a better supply chain to meet their expansion plan.”

Aside from adding two large lines to come on-stream, with 40,000 tons of capacity in China and Indonesia, TAK has not made any concrete expansion announcements yet. However, Lee did say the company will continue to invest at its sites in China and Indonesia until 2020 and a new investment in another emerging market is being examined. For now, success in China and ASEAN will be a top priority.

“We have more than 21 years of experience and know-how in the spunbond business and our mother company, Toray Group, has an excellent overseas network, which has helped our success,” he says. “Among the global hygiene markets, there is not any other place like China or the ASEAN regions where the diaper business is growing so fast. That is why we chose those sites.”
Seoul, South Korea
www.torayamk.com
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $251 million
 
Key Personnel: Y.K. Lee, chairman and CEO; W.C. Hwang, vice president/head of fiber division; Hitoshi Takeuchi, senior director/fiber division; W.S. Chun, senior director/fiber division; J.N. Kim, president of TPN; Y.K. Kim, president of TPJ
 
Plants: Korea, China, Indonesia
 
Processes: Spunbond PP (SS, SSS, SMS, SSMMS, SMMMS, bicomponent), PET (embossed and needlepunched)
 
Brands: Livsen
 
Major Markets: Hygiene, medical, protective apparel, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, construction, geotextiles
 
Continuing its aggressive Asian expansion plan is Toray Advanced Materials Korea (TAK). The Seoul, Korea-based company most recently announced it would add the fourth spunbond Line in Nantong, China to help sate demand for disposable baby diapers in China, which is being driven by an improvement in people’s lifestyles. The new spunbond line will be a polypropylene-based SSSS spunbond line capable of making 20,000 tons of material per year.
 
Including this new line, announced in June, the company’s total Chinese output will amount to 78,000 tons on four production lines. Toray already operates a three-line site in Nantong, which was established in 2006 and expanded twice, once in 2010 and again in 2012.
 
“Our spunbond business in China is one of the most successful overseas businesses for Toray Group,” says deputy general manager of TAK’s fiber marketing team, Evan (S.Y.) Lee. “We started the third Chinese line in August 2012 and it is nearly fully operational with strong partnerships. Through this investment, we are continuing to hold a leading position as the most advanced polypropylene spunbond maker in China.”
 
The Chinese operation is being complemented by a new operation in Tangerang, Indonesia, where a 20,000-ton spunmelt line began operating in June 2013. This new investment not only increased capacity but also broadened TAK’s footprint in Asia, allowing the company to supply all of Asia more easily and effectively.
 
Lee says it’s the company’s goal to continue to be a leading spunbond maker in Asia and the company will continue to expand its spunbond business in China, Indonesia and one other unnamed Asian country.
 
“We have proceeded with the continuous and planned investment in the Asian market with full consideration before the decision,” Lee says. “But, we worry about the current oversupply situation due to over investments in a short period in certain areas even though the market is growing. There is not much differences between nonwoven suppliers because of similar machines used and manufacturing processes utilized. This can be negative and hinder proper profit management for growth. “
 
A subsidiary of Japan’s Toray Group, Toray was centered solely in Korea before expanding into China and later Indonesia in the mid-to-late 2000s. In recent years, investment in polypropylene based spunmelt lines for the Korean hygiene market has slowed but the company added a second polyester line there last year to supply geotextile markets.
 
“We are seeing more growth in demand for high functional nonwovens in industrial applications such as automobiles and filters and construction in Korea and Japan, where diaper penetration in these countries is nearly 100%,” Lee says.
Seoul, Korea
www.torayamk.com
2013 Nonwovens Sales: $290 million

Key Personnel
Y.K. Lee, chairman and CEO; W.C. Hwang, vice president, head of fiber division; Hitoshi Takeuchi, senior director, fiber division; W.S. Chun, senior director, fiber division; J.N. Kim, president of TPN; Y.K. Kim, president of TPJ  

Plants
Korea, China, Indonesia  

Processes
Spunbond PP (SS, SSS, SMS, SSMMS, SMMMS, bicomponent), PET (embossed and needlepunched)  

Brands
Livsen  

Major Markets
Hygiene, medical, protective apparel, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, construction, geotextiles

A huge boost in Chinese sales translated to impressive corporate growth for Toray Advanced Materials Korea (TAK) in 2013. The company reported sales of about $290 million compared to $256 million the year before due to a 45% jump in sales at Toray Polytech Nantong (TPN), the company’s Chinese division. Korean sales were flat while the company’s third division, TPJ in Indonesia, began contributing to sales in mid-2013.

During the past couple of years, TAK has been aggressively investing in Asia and is now in the process of adding its fourth line in Nantong, China, just eight years after entering the country. With this new line, which was announced in June and is expected to start operation by the end of 2014, the company’s Chinese output will reach 78,000 tons.

Toray established the Chinese site in 2006, added a second line in 2010 and the third line in 2012.

While Toray has always maintained that the Chinese spunmelt operation is one of its company’s most successful businesses, executives are reporting a slowdown in demand for the materials in China. However, this should soon turnaround as the market adapts to a reversal in the Chinese government’s one child policy.

“So many spunmelt investments in China has resulted in quite an oversupply situation in the whole Asian market,” Evan Lee, deputy general manager of Toray’s fiber marketing team. “This had led spunmelt suppliers to either lower their production or their sales prices. If demand does not increase dramatically there will be the need to adjust our strategy.”

Meanwhile, the company’s first Indonesian investment, which came onstream in mid-2013, is nearly sold out and the company is already considering a second line at this site. “The sales situation was good due to rapid growth in Indonesia,” Lee says.

The Indonesian site, located near Jakarta, added 20,000 tons to Toray’s global footprint and broadens its manufacturing footprint, allowing the company to supply all of Asia more easily and effectively.

All of this investment falls in sync with Toray’s strategy of becoming a leading maker of spunbond material in Asia, a goal that will be met with continued investment in China, Indonesia and other countries that can better meet the needs of the regions.

A subsidiary of Japan’s Toray Group, Toray was centered solely on the Korean market before expanding into China and more recently Indonesia. While the company continues to focus on the hygiene market within Korea, a low birth ratio and smaller population has made it less attractive than other Asian countries.

Instead, Toray has been working on expanding in industrial, agriculture, geotextile and consumer car markets. To do this, the company has shifted its investment focus from polypropylene spunbond to polyester, but success in these areas has been challenged by slow economic growth.

“It is not so easy to enter the polyester spunbond market as a new driving force for growth but we will still try to develop this market with new technology and applications,” says Lee.