2013 Nonwovens Sales: $127 million
John Lewis, president, Southern Felt; Mike Konesky, vice president, sales and marketing, Southern Felt
South Carolina, U.S., UK, China, India
Needlepunch, thermal bond, chemical finishes
Filtration, technical felts, laundry products
This will be the last time Andrew Industries appears in Nonwoven Industry’s Top Companies Report. In February 2014, the company was sold to Lydall, a Manchester, CT-based nonwovens producer, in a deal valued at $83 million. At the time of this purchase, Andrew reported its 2013 sales at $127 million.
For now, Lydall is keeping Andrew in tact, creating a third division, known as the industrial filtration division, to its business. Executives say the acquisition strengthens its position as an industry-leading global provider of filtration and engineered material products and diversifies the company’s end markets and geographic revenue base.
Prior to the acquisition Andrew was a leading global manufacturer and supplier of nonwoven filtration felt media and filter bags for industrial air filtration applications. In the U.S., these products were sold under brands Southern Felt while in Europe they are known as Andrew Webron and in Asia as China Felt Company.
The acquired business consists of operations in the U.S., the UK and China along with approximately 500 employees.
“The acquisition of Andrew Filtration expands our global footprint, adds complementary and new technologies as well as substantial scale that provides a platform for long-term growth and better positions us to deliver meaningful shareholder value,” says Lydall CEO Dale Barnhart.
Andrew’s core market, the industrial air filtration market has been strong compared to prior years as improvements in the domestic housing market drove demand for bag filters in the cement and asphalt industry. Additionally, strong demand for automobiles has given life to the steel and aluminum industries, driving demand for filtration.
Recent investments at the company include a new needlepunch line in September 2012. This new line gave the U.S. division—known as Southern Felt and based in Augusta, GA—the ability to produce a full range of technical filtration needlefelts as well as industrial felts. The new line has added six million square yards annually.
Meanwhile, Bondex, Andrew’s thermal bond business, has added new laminating and coating capabilities, giving the division better exposure in the electrical insulation market.
Looking eastward, Andrew’s Chinese arm was known as as China Felt, which comprises two manufacturing sites. Its first, located in Qingpu, was established nine years ago and enlarged with a second needlepunch line in 2011; the second site, in Wuxi, was acquired from Ahlstrom in 2011 and soon after upgraded with a state-of-the-art needlepunch line specifically for PTFE filter media.
Throughout Asia, the company has differentiated itself through innovative products, high quality felts and excellent customer service. Growth has also come from tighter environmental standards, which have created demand for filter felts.
Elsewhere in Asia, Andrew India, a converting operation begun in 2012, is now operational, producing a full range of filter bags from both needlepunch felts and woven fiberglass. Lamination equipment has also been commissioned giving Andrew India the capability to offer ePTFE laminated felts, wovens and spunbonds. Before being acquired, the company had announced a long-range plan to add a needlepunch manufacturing line there.