Kaoshiung City, Taiwan
2014 Nonwovens Sales: $174 million
C.S. Huang, chairman; H.S. Huang, president; M. Yang, vice president; Sam Chang, vice president; Paul Cheng, general manager; Bernard Kerstens, commercial director, overseas business
Kaoshiung, Taiwan; Pinghu, China Processes: Spunlace, thermal bond, air-through bond, needlepunch
Hygiene, medical, wipes
Sales at Nan Liu Enterprises reached $174 million thanks to continued growth in all sectors but especially in the markets for high quality and soft wipes. The company makes wood pulp/polyester spunlaced fabrics for surgical gowns, wipes and other applications and expects growth to continue, particularly in China.
In late 2013, Nan Liu completed work on a 6.2-meter-wide spunlace line, capable of making materials for wipes and other applications. According to Kerstens, the line, which offers a number of unique functions to help meet clients’ special needs, has helped Nan Liu grow in the Chinese wet wipes industry, where it continues to see high annual growth.
Currently, about 50% of the company’s sales are done in China, but the company continues to expand overseas, particularly in hygiene and medical markets.
“It has been again another strong year of growth for the wipes industry,” says Bernard Kerstens, commercial director. “Due to continuous growth on family income and the ease of the “one-child” policy in China, we are very confident on the strong growth in this segment for the next few years.”
Amidst this growth, Kerstens says the Asian spunlace market continues to be a tough one because there are so many locally made machines and a wide range of quality levels, which confuses clients and easily upsets end users who buy poor quality products.
In May 2013, Nan Liu joined the Taiwan Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company. This change in ownership came nearly 40 years after its establishment as a supplier of materials for hygiene and markets. Executives hope the move will help it expands its business.
“We would like to use this opportunity to run the business more efficiently and also to attract more professional people to join our operation,” Kerstens says.
Beyond spunlace the company also makes thermal bonded and through-air nonwovens and sales of these technologies are primarily growing in the baby diaper and feminine napkin markets. Aside from diapers and wipes, the medical market is next in line in terms of importance for Nan Liu. The company reports it has allotted much of its time and resource developing wood pulp/PET spunlace fabrics for surgical gowns and drapes during the last five years.
Moving forward, Nan Liu will continue to expand its bases as its clients continue to move around the globe targeting Southeast Asian countries, India, Middle East and Russia in addition to China.
Nan Liu has done a lot of development work and experimentation regarding sustainable nonwovens for many years. A decision has been taken to go into that direction and the company will expects to invest in this segment in the near term.