2019 Nonwovens Sales: $930 million
Dante Parrini, chairman and CEO; Chris Astley, senior vice president and CCO; Sam Hillard, senior vice president and CFO
Canada, U.S., Germany, U.K., France, Philippines
Feminine hygiene, wipes, tabletop, adult incontinence, home care, food and beverage, building and industrial
Airlaid sales increased significantly in 2019 from $311 million to $406 million thanks to Glatfelter’s acquisition of an operation in Steinfurt, Germany, as well as a new facility in Fort Smith, AR. Growth was seen across all of the company’s key areas for airlaid including feminine hygiene, specialty wipes, tabletop, adult incontinence and home care.
While feminine hygiene continues to represent the division’s largest segment, its share dropped from 63% to 51% in 2019 reflecting continued diversification and the company’s growth in markets like wipes and tabletop products thanks to the Steinfurt acquisition and additional capacity in Arkansas.
The Fort Smith site, capable of making 22,000 short tons of material per year, came onstream in mid-2018 representing a $90 million investment. The new line has helped Glatfelter meet growing demand for wipes and sustainable substrates. “The current pandemic has increased consumers’ hygiene awareness which is reflected in the current markets,” says Chris Astley, chief commercial officer. “The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Fort Smith continues to be an essential component in Glatfelter’s global growth strategy.”
This facility primarily supplies material to the specialty wipes market which has helped Glatfelter meet the growing needs for light-weight substrates among customers in the North American market.
Meanwhile, Glatfelter’s latest European investment, an airlaid line in Steinfurt, Germany, was purchased from Georgia-Pacific in October 2018 for $185 million and adds approximately 32,000 metric tons to the company’s global output.
“With the addition of the Steinfurt site we acquired increased airlaid capabilities in Europe, which has enabled the optimization of our product portfolio and increased efficiency of our manufacturing assets,” he says. “Also, planning processes have been optimized, allowing us to effectively reallocate manufacturing capacity for faster response to customer demands.”
According to Astley, company research shows that demand for airlaid materials will remain strong given the increased use of personal hygiene products and strong demand for wipes. “We also remain committed to innovation by exploring new and expanded opportunities across all of our product segments.”
As customers continue to seek sustainable solutions, Glatfelter will continue its commitment to innovation and environmental responsibility to create products that give it a competitive advantage in an increasingly environment aware marketplace. “Our solutions help customers achieve their sustainability goals and demonstrate their environmental commitments to their customers,” he adds.
Glatfelter also operates a wetlaid nonwovens business that generated sales of $522 million in 2019. Glatfelter holds leadership positions in several of the product areas in which it plays, and believes many of the markets served with wetlaid technology present attractive growth opportunities.