2018 Nonwovens Sales: $125 million (estimated)
Haitham Alhudhaif, president. Executive Management Team: Nigel Gautry, marketing and sales; Asem Jameel Assilkhi, chief financial officer; Jorge Lopez, corporate operations manager
Dammam, Rabigh, KSA; Antwerp, Belgium (distribution center)
Spunmelt; SSS, SMMS, SSMMS. Medical treatment line.
Hygiene—baby care, adult incontinence, feminine hygiene; Medical—gowns, scrubs, sterilization wraps; Agriculture—crop covers and mulching fabrics; Industrial—furniture, bedding and filtration
The big news from Saudi German Nonwovens is expansion into the U.S. While full scale nonwovens production is not on the horizon, for now, the company set up a U.S. distribution center to better serve its customers in the region in 2017. It has allowed SGN to bring to North American customers the same added value as its European customers, says sales director Nigel Gautry.
Benefits to the customers include a secure, flexible and agile supply chain that can deliver on-time delivery performance in the 95th percentile, order to delivery within 24 hours, depending on customer locations.
SGN’s nonwovens operation includes two plants in Saudi Arabia—one in Damman and the other in Rabigh. The newer of the two sites, Rabigh, was added in 2011 to provide SGN with better access to the Suez Canal and position it among the main trade routes from China to Europe. The investment fueled success in Europe by servicing the EU distribution center in Antwerp, Belgium.
With many of the world’s largest consumer companies among its customers, SGN mainly sells its materials outside of Saudi Arabia and attributes its international success to relationship management.
The new site in Rabigh sits on 70,000 square meters of land which gives it enough space for four or five manufacturing lines. While the company is now solely focused on the spunmelt market, Gautry says that future investments will respond to the market demands for all nonwoven materials.
In terms of technology, recent developments have led to the introduction of UltraSoft and UltraSoft-plus for the hygiene industry, and the company introduced a range of apparel, draping and wrapping solutions for the medical fabrics market in 2017 that was made possible through a multimillion dollar investment to its oldest production line. Developments like this are expected to contribute to rapid growth for SGN in these markets, according to executives.
This new capacity is being readily accepted in drape and gown, SMS products in anti-static and the higher demanding alcohol repellent materials, executives say.
Meanwhile, SGN UltraSoft has had excellent penetration in baby diaper topsheets, in many cases replacing air through bonded nonwovens and also adult incontinence backsheets, with further development in side leg cuffs showing real promise.