2015 Nonwovens Sales: $182 million
Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Mona Nielsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO; Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, Group R&D Director; Bjarne Knudsen, CEO, Czech Republic
Denmark, Czech Republic, France, South Africa, U.S., Turkey
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnations, coating and a range of finishing technologies
Acoustics, automotive, bedding, building industry, composites, concrete, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden horticulture, medico, wipes
Expansion into new markets and geographies continues to be a top priority for Fibertex Nonwovens. The Aalborg, Denmark manufacturer of nonwovens for a range of technical markets has manufacturing sites in Denmark, France, Czech Republic, South Africa, Turkey and the U.S.
“Fibertex Nonwovens is following a global expansion strategy and has been successful in its efforts to expand into new markets and geographies,” says CEO Jorgen Bech Madsen. “Our acquisitions have been part of our strategic plan to become a world leader in technical nonwovens. Today we have a strong platform for further expansion.”
In 2015, sales increased an impressive 16% to reach $182 million, thanks to increased sales to the automotives market and other specialized markets. Also boosting business in 2015 was the effects of Fibertex Nonwovens U.S.—formerly known as Non Wovens Solutions, an Illinois-based needlepunch manufacturer, acquired in October 2014. With about $16 million in sales, this business has allowed Fibertex Nonwovens to grow sales of value-added products for the composite, filtration and automotives industries.
“The platform that we have now in North America is state-of-the-art and we are happy to see the high quality products being produced at this facility,” Madsen says. “In addition to the businesses that we earlier were supplying out of Europe, we now also have a strong platform for producing for the wipes, medico, and filtration market as well as for other technical applications in North America.”
Prior to the acquisition, Fibertex Nonwovens was largely serving its North American customers out of Europe, but as the business grew, an active presence was required in the market.
In October 2015, Fibertex Nonwovens gained access to another new market thanks to the acquisition of Ribatek, a Turkish supplier of spunlace nonwovens for technical wipes, filtration, industrial and automotives. Prior to the acquisition, Fibertex Nonwovens already had spunlace technology in France at a facility acquired from Tharreau Industries in 2011.
“We were experiencing a growing demand for new textiles based on spunlacing technology. The strategic rationale behind the Ribatek acquisition was to increase our total capacity of specialized products within spunlacing and product mix as well as to ensure a strong technology platform,” Madsen says. “Ribatek was the perfect match due to Ribatek’s high quality, strategic fit and strategically important geographical location.”
Capital investment is also an important part of Fibertex Nonwovens’ growth strategy. In South Africa, it has added a second state-of-the-art needlepunched production line as well as additional land and buildings. This business, established in 2010, has experienced significantly increased demand not only for products for the growing South African automotive industry and infrastructure programs, but also for industrial applications, Madsen says.
“The capacity expansion is in line with the strategies and growth objectives of the company, including the expansion into Africa,” he says. “The increased investment in state-of-the-art production capacity not only increases workforce in an area with high unemployment but also proves that South Africa is an attractive location for world class production.”
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic Fibertex Nonwovens has added a new needlepunch line targeting the automotives industry, and in France and Denmark lines are being upgraded to expand their technology offerings.