Fiber Industries is a privately-held company, established by MHR Fund Management LLC, a New York-based investment firm, to restart the Palmetto Plant in Darlington, SC. The management team of Andrew Rosenfeld and Leandro Carboni has more than 60 years of combined experience in working at senior level positions in the chemical, oil and gas industries, along with strong backgrounds in financial, commercial and operations.
Carboni and Rosenfeld conducted extensive due diligence prior to the formation of the new venture. During that process, they found that the polymerization capacity and staple producing equipment were largely in good working order. The former owner, Wellman, Inc. conducted an orderly shutdown in late 2008.
Fiber Industries is excited about the opportunity to restart the Palmetto Plant and bring jobs to the Darlington area. They look forward to offering the U.S. textile and nonwoven industries a domestic supply option that will have products designed to perform on their modern equipment.
Fiber Industries’ plan is to be a key domestic supplier primarily focused on the US market. Staple is their core competency and they have the benefit of proprietary technology in copolymers and plan to build on that in the future. Smaller incremental production units compared to most staple producers will allow the company agility to respond quickly to changes and opportunities.
Fiber Industries will offer a range of 0.9 – 9.0 dpf staple products designed to run competitively on today’s high speed opening and processing systems in Superwhite, Semi-dull OB and Semi-dull polymers. FI will also produce fiber grade PET chip.
Prior to restart, FI is installing a new, state-of-the-art raw materials handling system, finished goods handling and brand new warehouse facilities, along with new process control and enterprise systems.
In the first phase of the restart, FI plans will create at least 135 new jobs. Carboni and Rosenfeld say, “We have been very impressed with the local workforce capabilities observed during its due diligence process. The support of the state and the local community has been an additional plus to help move this project forward.”
They continue, “Our plan is to maintain a lean organization. Our financial discipline will support our strategy to be a low cost operation able to compete with global players. We are also in a position to benefit from the collective experience base of former Wellman employees still in the area, and our manning plan will target a mix of ex-Wellman with deep experience and new hires. “