2019 Nonwovens Sales: $837 million
Sara Greenstein, president and CEO; Ashish Diwanji, president, Performance Materials; Robb Junker, president Technical Nonwovens; Joe Abbruzzi, president, Thermal Acoustical Solutions
Rochester, NH; Saint Rivalain, France; Green Island, NY; Lancaster, PA; Fulton, NY; Hoosick Falls, NY; Beaver Falls, NY; Marshalltown, IA; Altenkirchen, Germany; Heerlen, The Netherlands; Hamptonville, NC; Yadkinville, NC; North Augusta, SC; Bethune, SC; Rawtenstall, U.K.; Bury U.K.; Stoke-on-Trent, U.K.; Wuxi, China; Yixing, China; Taicang, China; Shanghai, China; Quebec, Canada; Fulda, Germany; Meinerzhagen, Germany; St. Nazaire, France
AppLY Mat, Biotherm, CRS Wrap, Cryo-Lite, LydAir MG, LydAir MB, LydAir SC, LydAir GP, LyPore Defender, LyPore MB, LyPore SC, LyPore XL, Lytherm, ManniGlas, Select-A-Seal, dBCore, dBLyte, ZeroClearance, Fiberlox, Checkstatic, Microfelt, Pleatlox, Ultratech, Powertech, Powerlox, Microcap, Duotech
Specialty insulation, sealing, high-efficiency air and liquid filtration media and automotive
Celebrating its 150th anniversary—and 50 years as a publicly traded company—in 2019, Lydall reported a performance that was not reflective of its potential during the year, according to CEO Sara Greenstein.
“Lydall has had a history of strong performance and strong growth but throughout 2018 and 2019 those results were disappointing to everyone,” says Greenstein, who joined Lydall in 2019. “We have the components of a best-in-class organization and we have unique applications and technologies to help solve problems that our customers are facing. I was positively impressed regarding the breadth of the technical knowledge and the manufacturing capability but the results weren’t there.”
In 2019, the company’s Technical Nonwovens business unit, which contains several recently acquired businesses including Texel and Gutsche, reported sales decreased $7.5 million to reach $255 million, adjusted for foreign exchange rates and the divestiture of the Texel Geosel business in the second quarter. The slowdown in China was primarily responsible for the sales decline due to global trade uncertainties and the impacts of facility consolidations efforts. Volumes in North America and Europe decreased only slightly.
Meanwhile, Thermal Acoustical Solutions business unit sales delivered organic growth of 1.1% and total sales of $362 million despite a global slowdown in automotive production. Margins were impacted by higher costs for new product ramps in North America and higher costs in Europe to accommodate unexpected volume increases of select customers.
Within the Performance Materials business unit, sales increased $76 million to $245 million largely driven by the acquisition of the Interface Performance Materials business in the third quarter of 2018. This business unit is divided into two businesses—Sealing & Advanced Solutions and Filtration. Sales in Sealing & Advanced Solutions saw softness across all regions as lower auto demand and slowing growth in agricultural and construction end markets impacted sales. Sales in Filtration were flat as higher demand in air filtration products were offset by lower sales of liquid filtration products.
Greenstein took over at the helm of Lydall in November 2019 following the retirement of Dale Barnhardt who had served the position for 12 years. To help Lydall get back on track, Greenstein has been conducting a strategic review of the operation. One of the key challenges will be better collaboration and cross pollination between the three business units of Lydall.
“There are plenty of opportunities for success,” Greenstein says. “We just haven’t been leveraging them. We are breaking down the silos that exist between the units and changing the culture. That starts at the top, and I very quickly expected this of my leadership team and started to communicate in a very knowledgeable way.”
In addition to Greenstein’s appointment, two of the three business units also saw leadership changes last year. In July 2019, Joseph Abbruzzi was named president, Thermal Acoustical Solutions. Abbruzzi had formerly served as president of the Technical Nonwovens business. Lydall appointed Robb Junker to that role in October 2019. Ashish Diwanji was appointed president of Performance Materials, replacing Paul Marold, in June 2020.
Amidst these efforts to transform its business, Lydall has responded swiftly and effectively to the challenges brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic in the first half of 2020. In July, the company broke ground on a two-line meltblown site, which will be the biggest meltblown operation in the U.S., in Rochester, NH. It will give Lydall the ability to make 140 million respirators and 540 million masks.
Prioritizing its response to Covid-19 to produce filtration products used in N95 respirators, surgical and medical masks, and medical wipes, pads and gowns was not the only impact the virus had on Lydall’s business. As it was ramping up production in these areas, it was also scaling back its manufacturing facilities in Hamptonville and Yadkinville, NC; Meinerzhagen, Germany; and St. Nazaire, France, in response to a number of Lydall’s largest automotive OEM customers having temporarily ceased operations.