The nonwovens industry is getting bigger. The nonwovens industry is shrinking. When I say it’s getting bigger, I mean sales are booming. Ten years ago, sales figures of the leading producers of nonwovens ranged from $55 million to $1.4 billion. This year, sales range from $113 million all the way up to $1.65 billion. What is significant is that in the last decade—a decade where we have seen some significant economic problems—the entry point to be considered a leading company in nonwovens has doubled. A closer look would show that just about every nonwovens manufacturer has increased their sales, either through investment, acquisition, innovation or a combination of all three.
In addition to sales, nonwovens continue to grow in terms of capacity figures. The industry continues to see a rapid rate of investments all around the world, as new uses for nonwovens are discovered and traditional markets, like hygiene, medical, automotives, wipes and filtration, continue to experience growth.
By shrinking, I mean the nonwovens industry is getting smaller through acquisition. During the past 12 months, no fewer than four major nonwovens manufacturers have been acquired by a fellow nonwovens producer. PGI led this charge with the side-by-side acquisitions of Fiberweb and Providencia as part of its bid to become the world’s largest maker of nonwovens. Other acquisitions include Lydall’s purchase of Andrew Industries in February 2014 and Georgia-Pacific’s acquisition of Buckeye Technologies. For the sake of this report, Providencia and Andrew were included because these deals closed in 2014. Fiberweb and Buckeye were included within the reports for PGI and G-P, respectively.
Other important stories included in this year’s report include Jacob Holm’s acquisition of DuPont’s Sontara technology, a move that will significantly boost Holm’s ranking in the 2015 report; new line investments in Eastern Europe for Avgol (Russia) and Union Industries (Poland); significant investment by Tenowo and Fibertex Nonwovens and a continued focus on Asia by companies looking to capitalize on hygiene growth in China and throughout Asia.
By the numbers
This year’s Top Company Report profiles exactly 40 nonwovens producers located around the world. Our only newcomer this year was Mogul Nonwovens, a Turkish maker of polyester spunbond, meltblown and spunlace nonwovens who has grown steadily since its founding in 1996. Mogul debuts at number 40 but we will certainly see this company’s ranking rise in coming years as it continues to invest and innovate.
As has been the case for every Top Company Report so far, Freudenberg was the world’s largest nonwovens producer in 2013 but this spot is certainly being challenged. PGI’s sales will receive a huge boost in 2014, the first full year that both Fiberweb and Companhia Providencia sales are included in its results. Also, potentially seeing a major change is DuPont, which has held steady at number two for decades. The sale of Sontara will bring its sales figures down by nearly $200 million next year.
Each company is ranked on the basis of their 2013 sales, which were translated from local currencies into U.S. dollars using exchange rates provided www.oanda.com. As always, currency fluctuations can have a significant impact on rankings so, while ranking companies by sales was necessary for the nature of this report, it is really the activities of these companies, as reported in the profiles, that should be considered. All sales figures were provided by the companies themselves except in some instances, such as Kimberly-Clark, First Quality Nonwovens and Johns Manville. Sales for these companies were estimated based on discussions with several industry sources.
2013 Nonwovens Sales
Click on the Company Name below to view the complete profile.
|1 Freudenberg||$1.65 billion|
|2 Dupont||$1.40 billion|
|3 Ahlstrom||$1.35 billion|
|4 Kimberly-Clark||$1.30 billion|
|5 Polymer Group, Inc. (PGI)||$1.20 billion|
|6 Glatfelter||$835 million|
|7 Fitesa||$697 million|
|8 Johns Manville||$670 million|
|9 Suominen||$515 million|
|10 Bonar||$407 million|
|11 TWE Group||$402 million|
|12 Companhia Providencia||$394 million|
|13 Georgia-Pacific||$380 million|
|14 Sandler||$367 million|
|15 Avgol Nonwovens||$342 million|
|16 Hollingsworth & Vose||$322 million|
|17 First Quality Nonwovens||$310 million|
|18 Toray Advanced Materials||$290 million|
|19 Pegas Nonwovens||$269 million|
|20 Fibertex Personal Care||$263 million|
|21 Lydall||$226 million|
|22 Japan Vilene||$204 million|
|23 Asahi Kasei||$200 million|
|24 CECEP Costin New Materials Group||$199 million|
|25 Mitsui Chemicals||$186 million|
|26 Union Industries||$181 million|
|27 Gulsan||$180 million|
|28 Dalian Ruiguang Nonwoven Group||$176 million|
|29 Jacob Holm||$171 million|
|30 Fibertex Nonwovens||$166 million|
|31 Jofo Nonwovens||$162 million|
|32 Nan Liu Enterprise||$152 million|
|34 Hassan Group||$150 million|
|Precision Custom Coatings||$150 million|
|36 Propex Holdings||$140 million|
|37 Toyobo||$129 million|
|38 Andrew Industries||$127 million|
|Spuntech Industries||$127 million|
|40 Mogul||$113 million|