2015 Nonwovens Sales: $407 million
Orwig Speltdoorn, managing director EMEA; Bart Austin, managing director NAFTA; Gareth Kaminski-Cook, managing director APAC; Marc Krauth, global business director, Interior & Transportation; Clark Halladay, global business director Building & Industry; Wayne Currie, Group HSE Director.
Belgium (Lokeren and Zele); Germany (Gross Ippener and Obernburg); Hungary (Tiszaújváros); the Netherlands (Arnhem and Emmen); U.S. (Asheville NC); joint ventures in China (Jiangsu) and Saudi Arabia (Yanbu).
Extruded, spunbond, thermal bonded and specialties, needlepunched staple fiber, woven, three-dimensional polymeric mats
Adfil; Bontec; BonarAgro, Colback; Enka Solutions (a.o. Enkamat, Enkadrain, Enkagrid, Enka-Spacer, Enka-Channel, EnkaRetain & Drain); Tipptex; Xeroflor.
Agro, building, civil engineering, construction, flooring, filtration, industry, interior, roofing, transportation
Low & Bonar is a global leader in high performance materials selling in more than 60 countries worldwide and manufacturing in Europe, North America, the Middle East and China. Low & Bonar uses its own manufacturing technologies to create yarns, fibers, industrial and coated fabrics, geosynthetics and composite materials serving the building, agricultural, industrial, architecture, geosynthetics, construction, infrastructure, transportation, flooring and decoration market sectors.
In 2015, nonwovens growth was driven by increasing demand for modular tile flooring worldwide as well as recovery of the automotives market. “Across our different businesses, growth is driven by different factors,” Gareth Kaminski-Cook, group director, strategy, sales & marketing, says. “In the flooring and automotive business Colback has the leading niche market positions; the contract commercial and industrial and housing markets are recovering and showing good progress in all regions. Additionally we’ve executed on our promise to the market to be closer to our customers and have expanded geographically in Changzhou, China with a state of the art Colback facility.”
Meanwhile, in the building industry, Colback engineered nonwovens can be tailored to suit specific processes and requirements which makes it the preferred nonwoven for a wide range of producers of niche applications. In Europe, continuously growing transportation networks and urbanization trends has led to more infrastructure work.
The company’s production facilities are based in Belgium, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, the U.K., the U.S. and through joint ventures in China and Saudi Arabia. In June, Low & Bonar announced it would expand its global footprint with the establishment of a new factory in Changzhou, China dedicated to making the company’s Colback technology, which will serve the growing carpet tile backing and automotive backing markets in Asia. The investment was reported at $26 million, spread over the next two years. Changzhou was chosen as the hub of the company’s Asian business because several of its major flooring customers already have manufacturing facilities in the region and are already producing products tailored to local requirements, which will be key to building market share.
“We believe in the potential that the Asian market offers, when we connect that to our ambition to expand geographically and the trust that we have in the value propositions that our technologies can offer it is a logical step to invest in this region,” Kaminski-Cook says. “The new investments allow us to better serve our customer base in the region and deliver on our promise to enable our customers to excel, distinguish and differentiate by leveraging the best of our global capabilities.”
Low & Bonar recently confirmed that the next stage of its Chinese investment—a second Colback line—will be commercialized at the end of 2017. This investment supports not only growth in China and Asia but also in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
Globally, growth for Low & Bonar geosynthetics continues to be around 5% per year. Looking ahead, non-building construction expenditures as well as continued market penetration in construction and transportation infrastructure applications as a growing number of builders, planners and other designers are adopting the use of geotextiles.
“We believe in nonwovens technologies to bring real added value solutions to our customers,” Kaminski-Cook says. “We do have unique technologies and a track record of understanding customer needs and translating that into new solutions.”
He believes that nonwovens will continue to gain use at the expense of traditional geotechnical solutions (layers of soil and rock aggregates, poured concrete, and precast concrete forms). “These geotextiles offer multiple performance advantages over the classical products,” he says.