2016 Nonwovens Sales: $341 million
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
Korea, China, Indonesia
Spunbond PP (SS, SSS, SMS, SSMMS, SMMMS, bicomponent), polyester (embossed and needlepunched)
Hygiene, medical, protective apparel, industrial specialties, agricultural, upholstery, filtration, construction, geotextiles
Increased sales from subsidiaries in China and Indonesia as well as sharper demand from Chinese hygiene manufacturers helped Toray Advanced Materials grow sales 11% to $341 million and executives expect this growth trajectory to continue.
“Asia’s hygiene market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 8% due to China’s ‘two-child policy’ and India’s growing income,” says head of marketing Jason Lee. “In addition to the above, customer demand on quality continues to increase. On the other hand, due to excessive investment expected in Asia by nonwoven companies for the next few years, the supply volume of polypropylene spunbond is expected to exceed demand.”
With four spunbond polypropylene lines in China, two in Indonesia and one under construction in South Korea (where the company has a sizable polyester spunbond operation), Toray is among Asia’s largest nonwovens producers and the company has invested aggressively in its business in recent years.
Toray’s most recent investment, a new line in South Korea, is on track to be complete in the first half of 2018, when it will help meet increasing level of customer demands. Elsewhere, Toray completed work on a second line in Indonesia in 2016 and this line will achieve maximum production and sales capacity in the second half of 2017 covering not only its domestic market but also other parts of Southeast Asia.
Toray also operates four lines in China where it is considering additional lines to comply with the supply and demand situation which is expected to increase 13% annually by 2020. Another key market is India, which is expected to increase 17% per year.
“It is important to dominate the market in advance to achieve a steady growth in the hygiene business,” Lee says. “Toray strives to maintain its status as Asia’s No. 1 leader in the hygiene industry. For this reason, TAK plans to expand capacity in Asia focusing on Korea, China, and Indonesia.”
While Lee did not elaborate on where or when the investments will take place, he did say that the company has a plan to bring its total capacity to over 200,000 tons compared to its current capacity which will be approximately 135,000 tons once the new Korean line comes onstream. This will put Toray in an even better position to serve its customers.
“For global manufacturers, decisions to select suppliers are made based on the supply quantity, quality, delivery time and skill level of products,” Lee says. “Despite over-supply in the Asian market, there are only a few companies that provide high-quality products. Therefore it is still insufficient to fulfill the demands for differentiated polypropylene spunbond products required by global manufacturers.”
For Toray, investment depends on the situation of supply and demand in the Asian region and the company has been considering new lines in countries like Korea, China and Indonesia depending on how quickly demand is increasing from major manufacturers which is largely being driven by increasing per capita income, which promotes the consumption of disposables products.
“Most countries in Asia, such as China, Indonesia and India, are examples of increasing income,” Lee says. “Furthermore, the high population density in Asia and China’s new two-child policy are factors that promote increased demand for disposable diapers.”
In the short term, Toray aims to secure the Asian supply chain and expand in various regions of Asia including China and Indonesia, starting with its planned capacity expansion in Korea next year. Longer term, Toray’s ultimate goal is to reach the number one position in the world, not just Asia. “By expanding our market share in China and steadily advancing our business into emerging markets, we can achieve this,” Lee adds.