2019 Nonwovens Sales: $980 million
Silverio Baranzano, CEO; Hal Singley, CFO
Gravataí, Brazil; Cosmópolis, Brazil; Lima, Peru; San Jose Iturbide, Mexico; Simpsonville, USA/SC; Green Bay, USA/WI; Washougal, USA/WA; Norrkoping, Sweden; Peine, Germany; Trezzano Rosa, Italy; Sulmona, Italy; Tianjin, China; Ras Al-Khaimah, UAE; Rayong, Thailand
Spunbond, SMS, bicomponent spunbond, meltblown, carded (chemical bonded, thermal bonded, air through bonded), airlaid, films, elastics, laminates and composites
The first full year effects of the acquisition of FitesaCNC as well as higher raw material costs helped drive sales upward for Brazil’s largest nonwovens producers, Fitesa. The company reported sales of $980 million last year.
In February 2020, Fitesa completed the acquisition of Freudenberg’s South American hygiene business including a state-of-the-art production facility as well as a professional and well-trained workforce. The site mainly makes carded air through bonded nonwovens for hygiene applications. “Although it has not expanded our technology portfolio, it significantly increased our production capacity for these products, and provided us with a very experienced team and portfolio that added great value to our carded business,” says Mariana Mynarski, corporate marketing, Fitesa.
In May, amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, Fitesa announced it had signed a contract for four projects with equipment supplier Reicofil for installations all over the world. While the company won’t offer specific details yet, it did say the project includes state-of-the-art equipment spanning multiple technologies and will significantly increase capacity in several markets.
In August, Fitesa announced the expansion of its films, elastics and laminates business with the acquisition of Tredegar Corporation’s Personal Care Films division. When approved by the applicable regulatory agencies, this operation will add five production sites to Fitesa’s footprint, as well as mark the start of the company’s manufacturing operations in three new countries: The Netherlands, Hungary and India.
Fitesa is one of the largest nonwovens manufacturers in the world with one of the widest geographical scopes. The company develops innovative solutions for the hygiene and healthcare markets using a broad range of technologies that include spunbond, carded, airlaid, films, elastics and laminates. Headquartered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Fitesa currently operates 16 manufacturing locations across 10 countries: Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Italy, Sweden, Germany, the U.S., the UAE, Thailand and China. In the last two years, the company made significant investments to expand its global footprint and innovation capabilities, with the acquisition of 51% of the shares of CNC International, a Southeast Asia-based manufacturer of spunmelt nonwovens, and the subsequent investment of a new line at the site as well as the startup of a new Innovation Center and pilot line in Simpsonville, SC.
The new FitesaCNC line is expected to start up Q4 2020, increasing the company’s total Asian capacity to 90,000 metric tons per year.
Hygiene, which is the largest market for Fitesa and for spunmelt nonwovens in general, has been showing a slow growth compared to its potential, largely due to economic and political turbulence in developing countries. Adult care growth has remained high even through the pandemic in 2020, mainly due to low penetration levels. Innovation remains key for all markets, with a special focus on cost due to the current situation and to representativeness of developing economies in the world.
Fitesa has been able to remain competitive thanks to its state-of-the-art asset base, which is described as one of the most modern asset bases in the industry. Additionally, Fitesa is the only spunmelt supplier with four innovation centers and three pilot lines.
“Nevertheless, we believe our corporate culture has also been key to our successful growth in recent years,” Mynarski says. “We have always focused on building long-term business relationships with our partners, as well as we’ve had the discipline with cost control and continuous improvement. This focus has been key in overcoming the challenges we have faced in this trajectory. It is only the combination of people expertise, the right assets and a well-established culture that will enable the successful execution of a good business strategy.”
This allows Fitesa to respond to constantly evolving customer needs and to maintain a close relationship with its customers. “Our sales and technical service teams are constantly working to better understand and improve our customers’ experience, and we are always ready to promote the connection among other departments when needed,” Mynarski adds.