2017 Nonwovens Sales: $317 million
Mikael Staal Axelsen, group CEO; Peter Andersen, CEO, Malaysia; Claus Svanberg, group CFO; Mette Due Sogaard, group quality and sustainability director; Peter Reis, group supply chain director; Anders Sogaard, operations director, Denmark; Jesper Pedersen, operations director, Malaysia; Ong Soo Fen, CFO, Malaysia; Albert Steffen, managing director, Germany
Denmark, Malaysia, Germany, U.S.
Comfort, Elite, Dual, Loft
Sales climbed at Denmark-based Fibertex Personal Care in 2017 thanks largely to increased volumes out of its Malaysian business and the increasing contribution of its of its Innowo Print business. Sales were DKK 2.106 billion ($317 million) compare to DKK 1.892 billion ($297 million) in 2016.
And, sales are expected to continue to climb thanks in part to the completion of the company’s latest production line at a brand new facility in Nilai, Malaysia, in late 2017. The new line, which not only adds 20,000 tons capacity to Fibertex’s Malaysian operation, expands its capabilities to make supersoft products which are in high demand in the Asian markets.
The new line is Fibertex Personal Care’s fifth in Malaysia. Its original plant, near Kuala Lumpur, was established in 2003 and houses four lines, making the company one of the largest manufacturers of spunmelt nonwovens in Asia and the largest foreign supplier to the Japanese diaper market. The new site has enough room to someday house four production lines, meaning that Fibertex Personal Care will be well positioned to capitalize on future growth in the Asian hygiene market.
“Asia is a growth region and Malaysia is centrally good located and a very good production country,” says president Mikael Staal Axelsen.
While Fibertex has not invested in a new line at its facility in Aalborg, Denmark, in more than a decade, the company has focused on making line improvements to its operations, allowing its lines there to offer many of the same attributes available on its newer lines in Malaysia. The site’s latest upgrade in late 2016 added capacity and incorporated high loft and supersoft spunmelt nonwovens.
In other expansion news, Fibertex Personal Care continues to focus on its printing operation, Innowo Print. The producer has established a U.S. operation for its direct-to-print on nonwovens operation, allowing it to better serve its North American customers
The $10 million investment, Fibertex Personal Care’s first in the U.S., includes a new facility in Asheboro, NC, which will be dedicated to direct printing on nonwovens. It is expected to come onstream in the fourth quarter.
Fibertex fully owns Innowo Print, a German-based printing company, with operations in Germany and Malaysia.
“The large global producers of diapers, sanitary napkins and incontinence products are increasingly demanding printing directly on nonwoven materials,” Axelsen says. “Today, the majority of products have a design print on a thin film. However, a growing number of our customers have realized the many possibilities in having their design printed directly on the nonwoven materials. For instance, our print technology gives them the opportunity to enhance the visual expression, which facilitates a range of differentiation possibilities.”
Fibertex Personal Care co-founded Innowo Print in 2008 and assumed full ownership of the subsidiary in 2014. “It is the idea that the print production in Germany and Malaysia is to cover the European and the Asian markets, respectively, while the coming factory in the U.S. is to cover the markets in North and South America.”