The most signifi cant change, of course, is at the top of the list. Years of aggressive investing, including some pretty signifi cant acquisitions, have won Avintiv (formerly PGI) a place at the top of the list, displacing Freudenberg Performance Materials, the company that has held the number one position every year since the beginning of the top companies report. Freudenberg managed to hold steady at number two this year.
Avintiv’s investments have taken many companies off of this report over the years and the latest of these is Companhia Providencia whose sales and activities are now included with Avintiv’s profi le. Another company that was lost to acquisitions was Andrew Industries, an industrial fi ltration company acquired by Lydall in early 2014. The acquisition also propelled Lydall, which renamed Andrew Lydall Industrial Filtraiton up the ranks, from 21 last year to number 14 this year.
Two other companies being boosted by acquisition include Jacob Holm, which added about $200 million to its sales through the acquisition of DuPont’s Sontara spunlace business, and TWE Group, whose sales continue to climb through the acquisition of Libeltex in Europe and Vita Nonwovens in the U.S.
Other important stories included in this year’s top company report include Suominen’s ambitious growth plan which includes a new line in the U.S. as well as line upgrades in Europe and South America, a new line for Avgol in the U.S., the entry of Fibertex Nonwovens and Mogul into North America and a comprehensive investment project by Tenowo.
By the Numbers
This year’s top companies report includes 41 nonwoven producers located around the world. Being included for the fi rst time this year is Advanced Fabrics, the reports’ fi rst Saudi Arabian-based producer. In recent years, this company has grown through investment in state-of-the-art spunmelt assets. Returning to the report this year are KNH Enterprises of Taiwan and Japan’s Unitika.
For the first time ever, a company other than Freudenberg took the top position, but Avintiv’s stay at the top will be shortlived. The nonwovens producer was purchased by Berry Plastics, a maker of fi lms for hygiene as well as a range of other markets. Beyond Avintiv and Freudenberg, most of the top 10 producers remained the same, although DuPont took a slight hit from the sale of its Sontara business to Jacob Holm and TWE Group’s ambitious investments pushed Bonar down a position.
As is always the case, each company is ranked on the basis of their 2014 sales, which were translated from local currencies into U.S. dollars using the average 2014 exchange rates provided by www.oanda.com. Currency fl uctuations, particularly the strength of the U.S. dollar compared to the Euro, signifi cantly impacted rankings this year. While ranking companies by sales is necessary for the nature of this report, it is really the activities of these companies, as reported in the profi les, that should be considered. All sales fi gures were provided by the companies themselves except in come instances, such as Kimberly-Clark, DuPont, First Quality and Johns Manville, which were estimated based on discussions with several industry sources.
2014 Nonwovens Sales
1. Avintiv Specialty Materials (formerly PGI) $2.00 billion
2. Freudenberg Performance Materials $1.54 billion
3. Kimberly-Clark $1.3 billion
4. DuPont $1.25 billion
5. Ahlstrom $1.2 billion
6. Fitesa $755 million
7. Glatfelter $731 million
8. Johns Manville $700 million
9. Suominen $442 million
10. TWE Group $415 million
11. Bonar $407 million
12. Jacob Holm $400 million
13. Georgia-Pacifi c $380 million
14. Lydall $357 million
15. Sandler $346 million
16. Toray Advanced Materials $342 million
17. Hollingsworth & Vose $335 million
18. First Quality Nonwovens $330 million
19. Avgol Nonwovens $319 million
20. Fibertex Personal Care $293 million
21. Pegas Nonwovens $252 million
22. CECEP Costin New Materials Group $207 million
23. Union Industries $176 million
24. Gulsan Group $175 million
25. Nan Liu Enterprises $174 million
26. Tenowo $173 million
27. Fibertex Nonwovens $171 million
28. Dalian Ruiguang Nonwoven Group $169 million
29. Asahi Kasei $167 million
30. Precision Custom Coatings $163 million
31. Hassan Group $162 million
32. Japan Vilene $159 million
33. Mitsui Chemicals $157 million
34. Jofo Nonwovens $151 million
35. KNH Enterprises $150 million
36. Spuntech $143 million
37. Propex Holdings $130 million
38. Mogul $121 million
39. Toyobo $109 million
40. Advanced Fabrics (SAAF) $ 83 million
41. Unitika $ 76 million$