2016 Nonwovens Sales: $708 million
Silverio Baranzano, CEO; Hal Singley, CFO
Gravataí, Brazil; Cosmopolis, Brazil; Lima, Peru; San Jose Iturbide, Mexico; Simpsonville, SC; Green Bay, WI; Washougal, WA; Norrkoping, Sweden; Peine, Germany; Trezzano Rosa, Italy; Tianjin, China
Spunbond, SMS, bicomponent spunbond and SMS, meltblown, carded (chemical bonded, thermal bonded, air through bonded), airlaid, laminates
Hygiene, medical and industrial specialties (filtration, agricultural, sorbent)
Investment continues to be a winning strategy for Fitesa, a manufacturer of spunmelt nonwovens for hygiene applications. In 2016, sales were up only slightly to $708 million but the company reported record volumes within its spunmelt business. And, these volumes will likely continue their ascent on the heels of continued investment in North and South America and in Europe.
“Since 2005, Fitesa has been growing its marketshare and production capacity at exponential rates, having invested in 13 new lines and two greenfield operations,” says Mariana Mynarski, global marketing. “We accredit this impressive growth to our talented and experienced team, a well-designed and executed strategy and the commitment of our shareholders with the future of the business. At Fitesa, we strive to be the preferred choice for the supply of nonwovens for the hygiene industry not only today, but for the long run.”
Recent investments at Fitesa have included new lines in Europe, North America and South America. All of these lines have not only increased production capacity but also complemented Fitesa’s technology portfolio, bringing production closer to the customers.
“It also enabled us to continue developing differentiated products with state-of-the-art technologies, that will support our customers in developing more innovative solutions to meet consumer’s demands,” she says.
Surely, all of this investment has paid off. Since the company as we know it was formed in late 2011 when it purchased the hygiene assets once owned by its former partner Fiberweb, Fitesa’s sales have grown from $160 million to over $700 million while its capacity has exploded. All of theses investments have taken place in the Americas and Europe, leaving a hole in Fitesa’s global footprint—Asia—but executives have not commented on when or where the next investment will be.
“Fitesa is constantly looking for opportunities and will continue to invest globally in order to fulfill our vision of being the preferred choice for the supply of nonwoven fabrics to the global hygiene industry,” Mynarski says.
As the world continues to go through important demographic changes that will impact the global nonwovens industry, manufacturers of nonwovens will continue to investment in new capacity to continue to penetrate hygiene disposable products. “Economies of scale and reducing transportation costs and lead times will remain paramount for competitiveness,” Mynarski says. “Nevertheless, these will be secondary to the innovation capabilities and service levels, as the markets are becoming more complex in terms of quality requirements and regional specificities.”
In February 2017, Fitesa showed it’s not only interested in growth through acquisition, when it acquired Pantex, a maker of topsheet materials and elastics bands for diapers and other hygiene products, from the Italian private equity firm Quadrivio Capital.
Based in Italy, Pantex also manufactures materials for topsheets at sites in South Carolina and the UAE.
Mynarski says that Pantex was attractive to the company because its technology—which mainly includes composites and specialty nonwovens—complements Fitesa’s portfolio of spunmelt, carded and airlaid nonwovens with a range of specialty products for applications in baby care, feminine hygiene, and adult incontinence, as well as medical, agricultural, and industrial products.
“Fitesa and Pantex have complementary product lines, which will expand our portfolio and allow us to provide a more comprehensive and integrated solution to our customers,” she explains, adding that growth, in whatever form, is always a priority for Fitesa.
“Fitesa is constantly looking for opportunities and does not discard the possibility of new investments that brings us closer to our vision of being the preferred choice for the supply of nonwoven fabrics to the global hygiene industry,” she says.