2013 Nonwovens Sales: $1.2 billion ($2 billion, pro forma)
J. Joel Hackney, Jr.; president, CEO and director; Dennis E. Norman, executive vice president and CFO; Robert Dale, president, APAC and global healthcare; Jean-Marc Galvez, president, EMEA and global building and geosynthetics; Scott Tracey, president, North America and global wipes and technical specialties; Barry Murash, president, global operations and business excellence; Herminio V. S. de Freitas, president, South America and global hygiene; Daniel Guerrero, senior vice president, strategy and business development; Daniel L. Rikard, senior vice president, general counsel, secretary and ethics compliance officer; Robert Holmes, senior vice president, global human resources and employee communications
Worldwide Headquarters: Charlotte, NC; United States: Benson, Mooresville and Statesville, NC; Clackamas, OR; Old Hickory, TN; Waynesboro, VA. Canada: North Bay, Ontario. Latin America: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Pouso Alegre and São José dos Pinhais, Brazil; Cali, Colombia; San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Europe: Bailleul, France; Aschersleben, Beisheim and Berlin, Germany; Terno d’Isola, Italy; Tarragona, Spain; Cuijk, The Netherlands; Aberdare, United Kingdom; Maldon, UK. Asia: Mundra, India; Nanhai and Suzhou, China
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, composites, through air bonded, adhesive bonded, resin bonded, thermal bonded, spunlace, airlaid, apertured film, film laminates, sonic laminated, extruded polyolefins, thermal laminated, Apex, Spinlace and other proprietary fabric forming, surfacing and binding systems
Apex, Amira, Arium, Nuvibond, Reemay, Spinlace, S-Tex, Typar
Agribon, Agryl Novagryl, Air-Gard, Chicopee, Chifonet Wipeschix, Chux, Comfortsilk, Covertan Pro, Durawipe, Geca Tapes, Medisoft, Medisoft Ultra, Pentamax, Reicrop, Reticulon, Soft-Touch, Spinlace, Sur-Prep Wipes, Reemay, Typar, Terram, Topswell, Tubex
With two major acquisitions under its belt as well as an ambitious growth strategy, PGI has become the world’s largest producer of nonwovens. In 2013, sales for the Charlotte, NC-based manufacturer exceeded $1.2 billion, up from$1.15 billion the prior year, thanks to the acquisition of Fiberweb during the fourth quarter, increased sales volumes in Asia as well as strength in the global healthcare and wipes markets.
These sales are expected to move considerably higher this year on the heels of the Fiberweb acquisition as well as the purchase of Companhia Providencia, which closed this May. These acquisitions, which had combined sales of about $700,000,000 place PGI out in front as the world’s largest maker of nonwovens.
“At PGI, we believe that the industry can benefit from a strong industry player,” says CEO Joel Hackney. “Fiberweb diversifies PGI from a portfolio perspective, adds some significant research and development activities as well as some tremendous industry talent.”
As Fiberweb helps to diversify the company outside of hygiene, the Providencia acquisition gives his company immediate access to the Brazilian hygiene market, which along with China, has been earmarked as an important growth area, as well as a state-of-the-art assets in North America. Providencia established a North American manufacturing operation in 2010 when it added a spunmelt line in Statesville, SC. A second line, the company’s 13th in total, was completed in early 2013. The line increased global capacity by 20,000 tons while allowing Providencia to develop higher value-added nonwovens and improve the product mix available to its U.S. customers.
“Not only does the Providencia acquisition give us geographical reach into faster growth regions like Brazil, it also give us access state-of-the-art technology and to some interesting new techonologies, like bicomponent nonwovens and laminating,” Hackney explains.
As competition intensifies in the hygiene market, PGI will defend itself with an arsenal of technologies developed by itself and its newly acquired companies. These include S-Tex, developed by Fiberweb, bicomponent material developed by Providencia and Premium Soft, a technology made by PGI in the U.S. and China.
PGI has also built a strong global manufacturing footprint to defend itself. PGI has maintained a sharp focus in Latin America with investments in Cali, Colombia, Buenos Aires Argentina and San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and the Providencia acquisition now extends its reach into Brazil. Meanwhile, in the U.S., PGI has spunmelt operations in Waynesboro, VA and Mooresville, NC as well as a seven-line facility in Spain.
In non-hygiene related market, an area where PGI has been focusing as part of its diversification strategy, PGI has invested $8 million to upgrade machinery and expand its manufacturing plant in Waynesboro, VA. By the end of 2014, PGI will refurbish more than 20,000 square feet at the plant, upgrade an existing research and development machine used to create proprietary filtration technology, install two additional assets and improve the existing quality lab with state-of-the-art equipment.
According to PGI, the investment increases its portfolio for the filtration market to include assets for two nanofiber technologies. When the investment is complete, PGI will be one of the only nonwovens companies able to make every component needed to make synthetic composites for enhanced mechanical filtration applications. These composites will initially target the HVAC, facemask, fluid power and automotive cabin air markets.
“We are zeroing in on investing where we can add more customized solutions in areas where PGI has not yet invested,” Hackney says.
Growth in adjacent markets, in fact, is one of the key operational imperatives implemented by Hackney since taking over the helm of the company, and the acquisition of Fiberweb has given PGI nice headway in reaching this goal.
Acquiring Fiberweb gives us a tremendous opportunity to transfer technologies into new markets,” Hackney explains.
With 2012 sales reported at $460 million, Fiberweb operated plants in Old Hickory, TN, Aschersleben and Berlin, Germany, Pontypool, Maldon and Aberdare, U.K., Terno d’Isola, Spain, Mundra, India and Biesheim, France and operated through two divisions, technical fabrics and geosynthetics
In March, PGI announced it would exit the European roofing business, forcing the shutdown of two lines in Berlin and the closure of the Aschersleben facility. Officials chalked up the decision to its desire to optimize its portfolio for sustainable growth.
“We are constantly trying to improve the day-to-day of the business and we found that there were better roofing opportunities elsewhere,” Hackney explains. “In Europe, the big focus for us is healthcare, hygiene, wipes and filtration.”
Other imperatives put forth by Hackney include improve economic preparedness, increasing market share in China and Brazil and focusing on leadership by developing talent.
Like Latin America, China has seen considerable investment over the years from PGI. The most recent investment has been the construction of a new site in Nanhai, China, which replaces an existing site built in 1996 and will allow the company to expand its manufacturing capacity for high quality nonwoven products for the global hygiene and healthcare markets.
The investment will allow PGI to expand production of chemical bonded products for hygiene applications and better meet the needs of customers in the region. PGI has operated in Nanhai for more than 15 years and the company will continue to expand the manufacturing footprint of the new site in sync with the needs of customers not only in China but throughout Asia.
The new Nanhai facility will combine the benefits of PGI’s current and new manufacturing technologies and is expected to be complete by the first half of 2016, with no disruptions to customers.
Elsewhere in China, PGI completed construction on a spunmelt line in Suzhou, China in mid-2013. This new line is targeting hygiene and healthcare customers in the region.
Investments like theses, in Asia and elsewhere, as well as the integration of its newly acquired investments will continue to provide PGI with strong growth prospects during the next couple of years. “PGI is on a very solid financial footing today,” Hackney explains. “It is not only growing topline but it’s a healthy cash generating enterprising. We are growing our sales and our earnings.”