2015 Nonwovens Sales: $706 million
Silverio Baranzano, CEO; Hal Singley, CFO
Gravatai, Brazil; Cosmopolis, Brazil; Lima, Peru; San Jose Iturbide, Mexico; Simpsonville, SC; Green Bay, WI; Washougal, WA; Norrkoping, Sweden; Peine, Germany; Trezzano Rosa, Italy; Tianjin, China
Spunbond, SMS, bicomponent spunbond and SMS, meltblown, carded (chemical bonded, thermal bonded, air through bonded), airlaid, laminates
Hygiene, medical and industrial specialties (filtration, agricultural, sorbent)
Investment continues to be a top priority for Fitesa, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of spunmelt nonwovens as new lines continue to be installed throughout the Americas and Europe. In 2015, volumes continued to climb thanks to the company’s commitment to investment and growth in the hygiene market, but sales decreased from $755 million to $706 million due to lower raw material prices.
Recent line investments include a spunmelt line in Norrkoping, Sweden in early 2015, a new spunmelt line at a new site in Cosmopolis, Brazil, near Sao Paulo—Fitesa’s second facility in this country—earlier this year. Additionally, a new line is scheduled to come onstream in San Jose Iturbide, Mexico later this year and new lines will start up in Peine, Germany and Simpsonville, SC in 2017. The Mexican line is that site’s third while the Simpsonville investment is line number four there. Fitesa established the Simpsonville operation in 2008 and added a third line there in 2014.
“In August 2015, we announced an additional investment of $160 million to support customer needs in Europe, the U.S. and South America, adding 60,000 metric tons of capacity globally,” says director of marketing Ray Dunleavy.
This $160 million investment includes the new lines in Germany and Simpsonville as well as a third line at a yet-to-be-determined location. The majority of Fitesa’s customers are in the hygiene market and the company meets their needs with modern, state-of-the-art equipment that delivers technologically advanced fabrics with superior properties and consistency, according to Dunleavy. This allows hygiene manufacturers to differentiate their products from their competitors.
These new lines not only offer advanced technology, they allow Fitesa the tonnage needed to meet their customers’ growth. Elsewhere, Fitesa operates spunbond/spunmelt lines in Washougal, WA, Gravatai, Brazil, Trezzano Rosa, Italy and Lima, Peru
“We strive to be the preferred supplier of nonwoven fabrics to the global hygiene industry.
“These investments enable us to provide the volume that our customers need for their businesses, but importantly, they allow us to deliver the innovative fabrics that will help them to differentiate their product offerings,” Dunleavy adds.
All of this investment is a continuation of the same growth strategy Fitesa has been focusing on since acquiring the hygiene assets formerly owned by Fiberweb in 2012. This deal propelled Fitesa, which is owned by Evora, to a position among the world’s top nonwovens manufacturers.
In addition to spunmelt lines throughout Europe and the Americas, Fitesa also has an airlaid operation in Tianjin, China where it has recently added a carded line. To date, Fitesa has not invested in spunmelt technology in Asia, despite that region’s growth prospects.
Dunleavy would not comment specifically on Fitesa’s plans for developing regions.
“We are focused on meeting the needs of our hygiene customers, many of which have business beyond our current market area,” he says. “We are well aware of the rapid growth of hygiene products in developing regions. We will expand into those regions where and when we see an opportunity with our customers or a demand not being filled by our competitors.”
For now, Fitesa plans to capitalize on growth from its existing locations, confident that needs continue to exist for spunmelt investment.
“We would not have invested in the U.S., Mexico, South America and Europe unless we were confident that there would be demand for our new capacity,” Dunleavy says.