2018 Nonwovens Sales: $407 million
Orwig Speldoorn, managing director EMEA; Bart Austin, managing director NAFTA; Gareth Kaminski-Cook, managing director APAC; Marc Krauth, global business director, Interior & Transportation; Clark Haladay, global business director building and industry; Wayne Currie, group HSE director
Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Hungary, China, and Asheville, NC
Extruded spunbond, thermalbond, needlepunch, staple fiber, woven, three-dimensional polymerica materials
Agriculture, building, civil engineering, construction, flooring, filtration, interior, roofing, transportation
The big news from Low & Bonar was the company’s decision earlier this year to sell its needlepunch business. In July, the company said it had agreed to dispose its needlepunched nonwovens business for a cash consideration of €17.3 million to Nimbus, a Netherlands-based private equity fund. The disposal will comprise the sale of the entire issued share capital of Low & Bonar NV and Low & Bonar Kft, which are based in Belgium and Hungary, respectively.
The disposal of the NPNW division will allow the group to reduce its net debt levels and invest in more profitable parts of its business. NPNW’s management team and employees will transfer with the business.
Daniel Dayan, executive chairman, comments, “We are pleased to announce the disposal of the NPNW business as part of our strategy to simplify our portfolio, pay down debt, and to improve focus on our core business. The disposal of the Civil Engineering division has been a strategic priority for management this year and we are pleased to complete this important milestone as we continue to work to improve shareholder value.”
This sale follows the disposal of the group’s Construction Fibres (“CF”) business (comprising a part of its Civil Engineering division), for a cash consideration of €6.4 million to Adfil NV and Industria BV. Adfil NV, which will purchase the business and production assets, is owned by a private Belgian investor. Industria BV, which will purchase the CF factory site, is owned by parties connected with Adfil NV.
Amidst these divestments, Low & Bonar continues to report strength in China. In 2018, the company announced plans to double capacity at the Changzhou site, which was opened in 2016 to make Colback nonwovens.
Even before the investment about 10% of all Colback made was sold into the Chinese market and the new site has benefited all four of Low & Bonar’s business units—Building and Industrial, Civil Engineering, Coated Technical Textiles and Interiors/Transportation. In addition to Colback, the next investment initiative will bring scrim capacity to the site, allowing Low & Bonar to offer new products to the building and industrial and civil engineering market.
In other investments news, Low & Bonar has added a nonwovens plant in Hungary and a glass mat line in Slovakia. In terms of acquisition, Low & Bonar purchased Walfor Industries, a Seattle, WA-based manufacturer of rainscreens and mats for £3.6 million, in a move that will strengthen its relationship in the U.S. building market and provide it with a west coast growth platform.
Meanwhile, in Arnhem, The Netherlands, Low & Bonar last year opened a test lab aimed at developing new and enhanced filtration solutions to meet the increased demands for cleaner industrial and automotive air. The company says the investment will escalate the rate at which proprietary technology is turned into market-adopted filtration applications.
A range of attributes based on Colback technology will be tested including filtration efficiency, air permeability, pressure drop and conditioning. In addition, the lab’s new scanning electron microscope will enable better understanding of the strengths and synergies between Low & Bonar’s set of technologies. Initial results show that Colback-based media has a lower pressure drop at comparable efficiencies to meet industry standards, and provides manufacturers with extra space in a cost-conscious product design.
As filtration continues to grow, carpet backings continue to be an important market for Low & Bonar. Earlier this year, the company developed Colback Gold, a new commercial carpet tile allowing manufacturers to produce carpets satisfying the most stringent Cradle-to-Cradle requirements. The newly launched product is the culmination of two years of technical cooperation between long-term partners Low & Bonar and Tarkett at the manufacturing and R&D facility in Arnhem, Netherlands.
Colback Gold delivers enhanced tuftability, unmatched stitch holding and unique process behavior.