2016 Nonwovens Sales: $2 billion
Tom Salmon, CEO; Scott Tracey, president, Health, Hygiene and Specialties Division
North America: Benson NC; Dalton GA; McAlester, OK; Mooresville NC; Naucalpan, Mexico; North Bay, Canada; Old Hickory, TN; Pewaukee, WI; San Luis Potosi, Mexico; Schaumberg, IL, Statesville, NC; Tlalnepantla, Mexico; Washington GA; Waynesboro, VA
South America: Cali, Colombia; Pilar, Argentina; Pouso Alegre, Brazil; Sao Jose dos Pinhais, Brazil
EMEIA: Aberdare, UK; Bailleul, France; Bengaluru, India; Berlin, Germany; Biesheim, France; Cuijk, Netherlands; Maldon, UK; Mundra, India; Neuville-en-Ferrain, France; Offranville, France; Sandskanaal, Netherlands; Tarragona, Spain; Terno d’Isola, Italy
Asia: Dongguan, Jiangmen, Nanhai, Quingdao, Suzhou, Zhijang, China; Johor, Malaysia
Spunbond, meltblown, SMS, carded, composites, through air bonded, adhesive bonded, resin bonded, thermal bonded, spunlace, airlaid, apertured film, film laminates, sonic laminates, extruded laminates, thermal laminates, Apex, Spinlace, and other proprietary fabric forming, surfacing and binding systems, nonwoven and film printing, multi-layer blown film extrusion, cast film extrusion, and injection molding
The big news from the world’s largest nonwovens producer is the company’s name change, announced in April 2017, from Berry Plastics Group, Inc. to Berry Global Group, Inc. The new name, according to the company, better portrays a more balanced view of who the company is to customers and investors.
“Our business has transformed significantly since our name became Berry Plastics in 1983,” says Tom Salmon, Berry’s CEO. “Berry has evolved from one manufacturing facility in Evansville, IN, to over 130 facilities throughout the world. And our business has grown from less than $25 million in annual revenue in 1983 to now over $7 billion, reflecting the AEP acquisition.”
In January 2017, Berry acquired AEP Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of flexible packaging films in North America. Based in Montvale, NJ, AEP operates 14 manufacturing sites in the U.S. and Canada.
“Two critical components of Berry’s culture are Continuous Improvement and Innovation,” Salmon adds. “As such, we are ‘Always Advancing’ to improve the way we work and to improve the products and services we provide. If you look across all of our products, they have one element in common – they protect. They protect what people eat, drink and use every day … they protect healthcare professionals and their patients … and they protect buildings, transportation, pipelines, and other infrastructure.”
With the name change and new mission, the company has also adopted a new logo and values. The logo was developed with the company’s values—partnerships, excellence, growth and safety—in mind.
Another milestone was achieved in June 2017 when Berry earned a spot on the Fortune 500, Fortune Magazine’s ranking of America’s largest companies. Berry is ranked at number 413, with $6.5 billion in revenues in fiscal 2016. The company also became the sixth largest company headquartered in Indiana in Fortune Magazine’s ranking.
Berry was first put into position to enter the Fortune 500 when it acquired its nonwovens division, adding $2 billion in sales, in July 2015. This portion of the company merged with Berry’s existing personal care-related businesses to form the Health, Hygiene and Specialties division.
In July 2017, Berry proved its commitment to growing this business by announcing plans to invest in a state-of-the-art Reicofil RF5 line, which will provide an incremental 20,000 metric tons of capacity serving the Asia markets. This investment will target market and customer growth and will be focused on premium applications in the desired hygiene and healthcare markets.
“Asia, for Berry, has been one of the fastest growing regions,” says Scott Tracey, president, Health, Hygiene and Specialties Division. “We are running at a relatively high utilization rate and it is time to invest to grow the business. This investment is targeted at premium hygiene and healthcare applications.”
The exact location of the new line has not been announced. Berry currently has nonwovens operations in Suzhou and Nanhai as well as a number of facilities serving its businesses outside of health and hygiene.
“Right now, we have announced the new investment,” Tracey adds. “The choice of location will be finalized soon.”
Berry’s most recent Chinese investment was the addition of further meltblown capabilities to an existing line in Suzhou, China, in 2017 as well as a brand new facility in Nanhai, which was built in 2014 to replace an older site originally built in 1996. Both of these efforts expanded Berry’s role in medical, health and hygiene applications.
In other investment news, Berry continues to focus on North America. The company announced in mid-2016 that it would add a new line in the region but has yet to pinpoint the exact location or technology for the new line.
“It is important to pick the technology as well as the location, aligned with market needs. We have a number of different locations to choose from, once we decide the final nonwovens technology for the investment,” Tracey says.
In Europe, Berry has continued to enhance its nonwovens offerings to meet changing market demands. In the past few months the company has put the final touches on a two-year investment to transform its Terno d’Isola (Italy) plant into a Center of Excellence for carded nonwovens. This transformation delivers enhanced production processes and innovation capabilities to respond to the changing market demands. The new and upgraded manufacturing lines in Terno are designed for the production of all basis weights for air-through bonded carded nonwovens with both mono and multi-layers. Also included in the upgrade are new automatic high-speed spooling machines featuring 10 winding heads to satisfy any customer need in processing.
As a result of these investments, Berry has broadened its product offerings. Recent introductions include: premium air through bonded nonwovens for topsheet and backsheet applications using premium fibers and finishes; Kamisoft Advanced, a soft bonded spunbond nonwoven for a number of hygiene product component applications and enhanced environmental focused offerings featuring cotton, PLA and other naturally derived materials.
Under Berry’s ownership, this nonwovens producer is well positioned to provide innovations that include not just nonwovens, but also film. While Tracey would not comment on what the combining of the nonwovens business with the films operations delivered specifically, he would say that the combination created increased customer exposure, not just from the nonwoven and film product standpoint, but also in terms of packaging components and logistical efforts.
“There have certainly been benefits,” he says. “Both the nonwoven and personal care film businesses have benefited from expanding existing customer relationships, and other synergies between the businesses.”
Outside of the health and hygiene segments, the HHS division of Berry operates a sizable specialty business globally. Key markets in these areas include filtration, proprietary wipes technologies, agriculture and building/construction. These markets continue to thrive under Berry’s ownership and are exposing the company to new market areas and applications globally.