J. Joel Hackney, Jr.; president, CEO and director; Dennis 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 HQ: Charlotte, NC; U.S.—Benson, Mooresville and Statesville, NC; Clackamas, OR; Old Hickory, TN; Waynesboro, VA. Canada—North Bay, OT. 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, U.K.; Maldon, U.K.. 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
This will be the first and last time Avintiv, the company formerly known as Polymer Group Inc., holds the top spot in this ranking. The company became the largest nonwovens producer in 2014 after a series of acquisitions, including Fiberweb and Companhia Providencia, propelled its sales upward, but will be sold to plastic and films specialist Berry Plastics later this year.
The integration of Avintiv will make Berry Plastics the world’s largest nonwovens producer while also increasing its access to the global hygiene and healthcare markets and lessening its dependence on the food and beverage packaging segment, which comprised about 40% of sales prior to the deal.
In 2014, a reported 57% of Avintiv’s $2 billion 2014 sales were within the health and hygiene categories compared to 10% of Berry’s sales. Already, Berry and Avintiv share several key customers. In fact nine of Avintiv’s top 10 customers in these segments are also key Berry accounts. Avintiv supplies polypropylene-based nonwovens that act as coverstock and absorbent material in diapers and feminine hygiene items while Berry sells backsheet materials, molded wrapping and fem care applicators to the same markets.
Most of Berry’s sales and production are located within North American while Avintiv has operations on four continents and sells products around the world.
“Geographically it is also a big advantage for Berry because Avintiv has a much broader international focus, and we think their leadership in many emerging markets will help facilitate growth,” says Jon Rich, Berry chairman and CEO after his company announced plansto acquire Avintiv in August.
According to company data, 44% of Avintiv’s sales last year were in North America while 26% were in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; 20% were in South America and 10% were in Asia-Pacific. In recent years, Avintiv, which changed its name and corporate identity in June, has invested significantly in global markets.
Its most recent international investment was the 2015 acquisition of Dounor in France, which boosted its European business by adding about 40,000 tons and $100 million in sales to the region.
“Dounor has grown into one of the top providers in materials for adult care and other hygiene applications in the European region, making them an ideal addition to our business,” Avintiv CEO J. Joel Hackney said at the time of the acquisition. “This acquisition will enable us to better serve customers in the hygiene market, particularly in northern Europe, and we are excited about the new opportunities this will create for our growth.”
Elsewhere in Europe, Avintiv operates a sizable operation in Spain, which it acquired from Telsaca-Texnovo in 2009 and said it was adding to in 2014.
Meanwhile, in South America, the acquisition of Companhia Providencia last year gave it a strong foothold in Brazil, which complements recent investments or upgrades in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. The integration of Providencia also provided Avintiv with state-of-the-art spunmelt assets in North America where the company now operates spunmelt lines in South Carolina,
North Carolina, Virginia and Mexico.
Prior to the Berry acquisition, it seemed Avintiv was destined to become a publicly traded company in its own right. Earlier this year, Avintiv said it had filed registration papers to launch an initial public offering of its shares. Hackney says the company had worked strongly in this direction until more recently when it became clear that being acquired was another option for its future.
“As Avintiv recreated itself as a leader in specialty materials, our team created such momentous growth that not just Berry but many customers recognized this,” he says. “Just like the businesses we created was attractive to potential investors through an IPO, it became attractive to a strong company like Berry.”
Berry also expects to capitalize on synergies with Avintiv beyond healthcare and hygiene. Within the wipes market, where Avintiv supplies substrate fabrics, Berry sells a number of plastic dispensing solutions; while in building and construction, Avintiv’s building wraps and geotextile products will complement Berry’s offerings, which include films and tapes.
The one area where the two companies compete is within the medical apparel segment where they both make gowns and masks. However, Avintiv’s role is significantly bigger than Berry’s.
“Avintiv has a diverse product offering in the medical and hygiene spaces,” Rich explains. “One of the things that we are most excited about is the opportunity to deliver solutions to our customers to help them reduce processing time and simplify things.”
For example, by merging the sourcing and production of absorbent materials and backsheets in baby diaper manufacturing or creating a marriage between substrate production and dispensing solutions in the disinfectant wipes market, the newly merged company will be offering product solutions to its customers.
As for Avintiv, Hackney is confident it will continue on a similar path under the umbrella of Berry Plastics. “Our strategy for Avintiv is straight forward and simple,” Hackney adds. “If you consider our strategy to become a leading specialty materials business creating a cleaner, safer and healthier world, our acquisitions have helped us accelerate this by not only expanding our scale but also by adding technologies to add specialized solutions.”
Among the recent technology additions at Avintiv is an expansion of Spinlace capacity in Benson, NC. The 300 million-square-meter addition of this material for the wipes markets came onstream in third quarter of 2014 and has allowed Avintiv to better serve its global customers and support the continuing growth of its global business.
Meanwhile, in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, where Avintiv operates several spunmelt lines, an investment to add state-of-the-art printing as well as in-line slitting and packaging capabilities is underway. This will allow customers to take advantage of a full-service facility producing, printing and slitting material in a single location, taking advantage of the company’s print expertise while simplifying and reducing risk in the supply chain.
The planned expansion will bring print capacity to 600 million square meters at the site with the ability to produce multiple colors, narrow slit widths and enhanced registration. The new asset is expected to be commercial in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Outside of disposables, PGI has upgraded machinery in Waynesboro, VA, which, like the acquisition of Fiberweb, has increased PGI’s filtration portfolio to include production and development assets for two nanofiber technologies.
In late 2014, Avintiv unveiled the first fruits of this investment, Everist brand filtration media. Calling the media the next answer in high efficiency filtration, executives said the nanofiber-based technology offers enhanced mechanical efficiency, low pressure drop and excellent dirt holding capacity, making it the ideal solution for companies in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) or other industries reliant on high efficiency filtration media.
The launch also represented a significant step in the company’s strategic growth in filtration as the company continues to provide global customers with the most innovative and highest quality specialty materials possible.
In fact, growth in adjacent markets is one of the key operational imperatives at the company and the acquisition of Fiberweb, with its manufacturing assets in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Spain and France and its presence in a range of technical markets including filtration, roofing and geosynthetics has helped achieve this goal. For its part, Berry has limited exposure to these markets and cited Avintiv’s role in them as another motivator for the purchase.