2013 Nonwoven Sales: $186 million
Kensaku Takahashi, general manager, spunbond fabircs division
Japan, China, Thailand
While nonwovens counts as just one of many business segments targeted by Mitsui Chemicals, whose interests span from agrochemicals to electronics to construction, this market continues to be an important one to the Japanese corporation. In its mid-year 2011 strategic plan, the company targeted nonwovens as one of its priority businesses and pledged to expand its scope into new markets.
Since then, Mitsui certainly has proven its commitment to nonwovens through investment. Just last month, the company held a ceremony commemorating its new Chinese subsidiary, located in Tianjin. The site’s first line, a 15,000-ton spunbond line, will target the fast-growing hygiene market in China, according to executives. Mitsui announced the new site in November 2011.
Meanwhile, at its Japanese operation in Tokyo, Mitsui’s latest investment, a 15,000-ton line came onstream in April 2012, bringing that site’s capacity to 49,000 tons. Elsewhere in Asia, Mistui operates a two-line site in Thailand capable of making 30,000 tons of materials.
With a leading position in the spunbond markets in Japan as well as in Asia, Mitsui’s Syntex brand of spunbond nonwovens is projected to grow about 11% annually due to growth in the robust disposable diaper market. Currently, about 80% of the company’s nonwovens are sold into the disposable diaper market, and the company expects that investment in China and Thailand will help it grow in areas of Asia with low diaper penetration like China and Southeast Asia.
The nonwovens division is apart of Mistui’s functional chemicals division, which also includes healthcare, agrochemicals and fine and performance chemicals.
According to executives, Mitsui Chemicals’ strengths lie in its ability to engage in comprehensive production extending from the creation of base resins to final processing, its longstanding R&D capabilities, and its advanced quality management. Drawing on these strengths, the company has continued to differentiate itself from competitors through the production and sale of highly functional spunbonded nonwoven fabric.
Moving forward, Mitsui Chemicals says it will accelerate to a pace that allows it to harness its strengths while coordinating closely with customers. In this manner, the company will reinforce its standing as a leading provider of highly functional spunbonded nonwoven fabric in Asia.