Fibertex Nonwovens


Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertex.com
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $126 million

Key Personnel: Jørgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO; Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, group R&D manager; Bjarne Knudsen, CEO, Czech Republic

Plants: Denmark, the Czech Republic, France and South Africa

Processes: Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnation, coating and a range of finishing technologies

Major Markets: Acoustics, automotive, bedding, composites, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture

Fibertex Nonwovens was separated from Fibertex Personal Care in 2011 so that the two businesses, which had become very different over time, could operate independently in their key markets. “The separation enabled each company to focus on and communicate its strengths and values to the market,” says Jørgen Bech Madsen, CEO, Fibertex Nonwovens. “The transition has progressed as scheduled and well.”

Today, Fibertex Nonwovens manufactures nonwovens for many different product applications. Global business segments include: automotive (insulation of engine compartments, car ceilings, door panels, trim panels and acoustic solutions); construction (geotextiles, building and composite materials, as well as do-it-yourself products); industrial (furniture, bedding, carpets and flooring and the med-tech industry); filtration (air, liquid and odor filters) and acoustics; wipes (wet wipes for the consumer market and specialist products for the industrial market).

The company has a strong position in a number of areas with significant growth perspectives, Madsen notes. “Apart from the considerable growth in global demand for products for the automotive industry, we expect to see a range of major infrastructure projects and construction works take large amounts of geotextiles in the coming years both in Europe and in the global growth markets.”

Fibertex Nonwovens generated revenue of DKK 726 million in 2011, compared to DKK 413 million in 2010. The improvement was mainly due to the acquisition of French nonwovens manufacturer Tharreau Industries, which specializes in developing products for the automotive industry and for industrial applications.

Tharreau contributed DKK 260 million to consolidated revenue from the date of takeover in May, according to the 2011 annual report for Fibertex Nonwoven’s parent company Schow & Co. Tharreau has been renamed Fibertex Nonwovens S.A.

The acquisition has not only strengthened Fibertex Nonwovens A/S but also generated substantial synergies for both companies, according to Madsen. “The objective of the acquisition of Tharreau Industries was to accelerate the strategic development of Fibertex Nonwovens to become a European market leader and create a strong platform for geographical growth. Since the acquisition we have focused on the integration of Fibertex Nonwovens S.A. in Fibertex Nonwovens A/S. Today, Fibertex Nonwovens has 98.8% of the shares in Fibertex Nonwovens S.A.”

In terms of the company’s strategic direction for the future, Fibertex Nonwovens intends to become the leading, globally positioned supplier of nonwovens with value added and cost-effective solutions to the automotive industry, industrial end uses, construction and composites industry, filtration, specialty wipes and medical end uses, says Madsen.

Other goals include increasing profitability and earning power through innovative solutions, technological leadership and, as a benchmark supplier, having strong value proposition to deliver solutions at competitive costs throughout the value chain.

Meanwhile, Madsen notes the importance of supporting his company’s customers’ geographical expansion in growth markets, and will aim to deliver sustainable and profitable global growth through a robust business platform. An example of this is the company’s recent expansion into South Africa where it will make needlepunch nonwovens for geotextile and automotive applications.

According to the 2011 annual report, Fibertex Nonwovens has focused its efforts on adapting to the current competitive market situation. “The company has supported these efforts by increasingly working the markets, winning marketshare in its core business areas while also improving the sale of products for the composite industry and of specialist high-value products.”

The company has also identified a number of new business opportunities for 2012. “In terms of R&D and innovation, the company has built a strong product portfolio supporting the long-term strategy of increasing the proportion of high-value products.” At the time of its annual report, Fibertex Nonwovens expected to generate revenue of around DKK 900 million. 
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertex.com
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $161 million
 
Key Personnel: Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO, Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO, Lars Bertelsen, COO, Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO, Keld Lauridsen, group R&D manager, Bjarne Knudsen, CEO, Czech Republic
 
Plants: Denmark, the Czech Republic, France and South Africa
 
Processes: Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnation, coating and a range of finishing technologies
 
Major Markets: Acoustics, automotive, bedding, composites, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture
 
Sales at Fibertex Nonwovens received a boost in 2012 due to the acquisition of French Tharreau Industries in May 2011 as well as a generally higher level of business activity across all of its business for much of the year.
 
Including the Tharreau business, which is now known as Fibertex Nonwovens S.A., Fibertex, based in Aalborg, Denmark, has operations in Denmark, the Czech Republic, France and South Africa and serves industrial markets like automotives, construction, filtration and geotextiles. The company was created in 2011 when it split from sister company, Fibertex Personal Care.
 
In the past couple of years, Fibertex Nonwovens has focused on broadening its global footprint. “We try to go where we see the right opportunities for growth,” says Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO. “And from there we adapt to competitive market situations.”
 
The acquisition of Tharreau Industries reportedly generated substantial synergies for both companies and has helped accelerate Fibertex Nonwovens’ strategy of becoming a European market leader. The operation contains needlepunch and spunlaced nonwovens located in Chemille, France.
 
Fibertex Nonwovens has also looked to South Africa for growth. In January 2010, the company announced it had started a state-of-the-art needlepunch line in South Africa. The facility makes and markets needlepunch nonwovens, primarily geotextiles, for road construction as well as products for the growing South African automotives industry.
 
Since the site’s establishment, most of Fibertex’s efforts there have focused on building production and positioning the company in the marketplace. Demand has been ramping up, however, more recently, driven by a large number of infrastructure projects in South Africa and its neighboring countries. Also helping to boost his operation is the acquisition of the distributor Geotextil Africa in late 2012. This move is expected to boost both revenue and earnings in 2013.
 
In addition to operations in France and South America, Fibertex Nonwovens operates a sizable needlepunch center at its headquarters in Aalaborg, Denmark. In recent years, efforts have focused on modernizing these operations to increase both productivity and efficiency. The company also operates a Czech Republic operation, which was acquired from Vigona in 2008.
 
Key markets for Fibertex Nonwovens include automotives, construction, industrial, filtration and wipes. Throughout all of these markets, Fibertex has been focusing on increasing its earnings potential and improving the ratio between the price it pays for raw materials and the price it fetches for its products.
 
“We truly have improved out place in the European market,” Bech says. “We are improving our earnings and we are passing through out raw material prices. We have a strong portfolio of products and we are working on growing sales in our more value added areas.”
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertex.com
2013 Nonwovens Sales: $166 million

Key Personnel
Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Henrik Kjeldsen CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO; Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, Group R&D Manager; Bjarne Knudsen, CEO, Czech Republic

Plants
Denmark, Czech Republic, France, South Africa

Processes
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnation, coating and a range of finishing technologies

Major Markets
Acoustics, automotive, bedding, building industry, composites, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture, wipes

Describing the first half of 2013 as slow with a hard European winter impacting construction and a weak automotives market, executives at Fibertex Nonwovens reported a reverse in conditions during the second half of 2013 and into 2014. For the full year, sales increased 3.5% to DKK 901 million ($166 mn) while earnings improved from $5 million to DKK$6.6 million (~$1.2mn) due to improvements in its core business and a sharper focus on customized value-added products.

“There is a combination of factors influencing our growth,” says CEO Jorgen Bech Madsen. “Partly it was better demand, but we have improved our competitive position with new products and advanced solutions.”

Also impacting the company’s performance was a company-wide improvement program that modernized and expanded production platforms, giving Fibertex Nonwovens competitive strength. This five-year investment plan covers improvements at all of Fibertex Nonwovens’ global sites and could even feature some yet-to-be-announced major enhancements, according to executives.

With its focus on five core markets—automotives, construction, industrial, filtration and wipes—Fibertex Nonwovens has plants in Denmark, the Czech Republic, France and South Africa. It was created in 2011 when it split from its sister company, Fibertex Personal Care.

In recent years, the company has relied on acquisition and investment for growth. This strategy seems to have worked. The company has more than doubled its sales (from $73 million) since 2009 and expects sales to continue their upward trend.

In acquisition news, Fibertex Nonwovens purchased Tharreau Industries in May 2011. This French manufacturer, now known as Fibertex Nonwovens S.A.S., generated substantial synergies for both companies and has helped accelerate the company’s strategy of becoming a European market leader. The operation contains needlepunch and spunlace operations in Chemillé, France. In 2013, sales from this French facility represented nearly 50% of sales ($72 million).

On the investment side, Fibertex Nonwovens established a South African facility in 2010. Featuring a state-of-the-art needlepunch line, this facility mainly targets the geotextiles market as well as the growing automotives market.

Fibertex Nonwovens spent its first three years in South Africa establishing a presence in the country, and in early 2013 it acquired a stake in distributor Geotextile Africa to improve its market positions. Executives expect growth in South Africa to come on the heels of a large number of infrastructure projects both in neighboring countries and locally.

“South Africa has seen nice development, particularly in late 2013,” Madsen says. “We have really focused on developing our business outside of Europe.”

In addition to global expansion, Fibertex Nonwovens continues to expand itself into new technical markets. “We are in many niche markets, like acoustics and low and high end filtration. We are also increasing our focus on what we call advanced nonwovens,” Madsen adds.
Fibertex Nonwovens
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertex.com
2014 Nonwovens sales: $171 million

Key Personnel

Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Henrik Kjeldsen CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO; Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, Group R&D Manager; Bjarne Knudsen, CEO, Czech Republic

Plants
Denmark, Czech Republic, France, South Africa

Processes
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnation, coating and a range of finishing technologies

Major Markets
Acoustics, automotive, bedding, building industry, composites, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture, wipes

Reporting a 12% increase in sales as well as a considerable jump in profits is Aalborg, Denmark-based Fibertex Nonwovens. The maker of industrial nonwovens has also expanded its manufacturing scope into the U.S. market through the October 2014 acquisition of Non Wovens Solutions, an Illinois-based needlepunch manufacturer. With about $16 million in annual sales, Non Woven Solutions makes and sells nonwovens in various product areas in the U.S. market, where Fibertex is seeing more opportunities.

“Establishing a presence in the U.S. will give Fibertex Nonwovens unique opportunities to grow its sales of value-added products for the composites and automotive industries in particular, but the acquisition is also expected to have a positive effect on sales in other product areas,” says Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO.

Fibertex Nonwovens, which separated from sister company Fibertex Personal Care a few years ago, makes nonwovens for automotives, construction, industrial, filtration and wet wipes markets. In recent years, the company has expanded in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and South Africa as part of its strategy of becoming a world leader in technical nonwovens.

In Western Europe, Fibertex Nonwovens has plants in Denmark and France. The French business was purchased from Tharreau Industries in May 2011 and is now known as Fibertex Nonwovens S.A.S. This acquisition generated substantial synergies for both companies and has helped accelerate the company’s strategy of becoming a European market leader. The operation contains a needlepunch and spunlace operation in Chemillé, France.

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, at a business that has been Fibertex-owned since 2005, the plant will have a new state-of-the-art needlepunch line in place by the end of 2015. This investment will help fuel growth in core markets across Europe and into new areas, according to Madsen.

In 2010, Fibertex Nonwovens established a factory in South Africa in association with local business partners and the IFU. Sales from this factory, which mainly target geotextiles and automotives applications, have grown considerably over the years and in 2015 Fibertex acquired an additional 48.2% of the its shares and now controls a 74.2% stake in the company. Currently, a new fiber line and a new needlepunch line are being added to this site. Both investments will be complete during 2015.
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertex.com
2015 Nonwovens Sales: $182 million


Key Personnel
Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Mona Nielsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO; Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, Group R&D Director; Bjarne Knudsen, CEO, Czech Republic

Plants
Denmark, Czech Republic, France, South Africa, U.S., Turkey

Processes
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnations, coating and a range of finishing technologies

Major Markets
Acoustics, automotive, bedding, building industry, composites, concrete, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden horticulture, medico, wipes


Expansion into new markets and geographies continues to be a top priority for Fibertex Nonwovens. The Aalborg, Denmark manufacturer of nonwovens for a range of technical markets has manufacturing sites in Denmark, France, Czech Republic, South Africa, Turkey and the U.S.

“Fibertex Nonwovens is following a global expansion strategy and has been successful in its efforts to expand into new markets and geographies,” says CEO Jorgen Bech Madsen. “Our acquisitions have been part of our strategic plan to become a world leader in technical nonwovens. Today we have a strong platform for further expansion.”

In 2015, sales increased an impressive 16% to reach $182 million, thanks to increased sales to the automotives market and other specialized markets. Also boosting business in 2015 was the effects of Fibertex Nonwovens U.S.—formerly known as Non Wovens Solutions, an Illinois-based needlepunch manufacturer, acquired in October 2014. With about $16 million in sales, this business has allowed Fibertex Nonwovens to grow sales of value-added products for the composite, filtration and automotives industries.

“The platform that we have now in North America is state-of-the-art and we are happy to see the high quality products being produced at this facility,” Madsen says. “In addition to the businesses that we earlier were supplying out of Europe, we now also have a strong platform for producing for the wipes, medico, and filtration market as well as for other technical applications in North America.”

Prior to the acquisition, Fibertex Nonwovens was largely serving its North American customers out of Europe, but as the business grew, an active presence was required in the market.

In October 2015, Fibertex Nonwovens gained access to another new market thanks to the acquisition of Ribatek, a Turkish supplier of spunlace nonwovens for technical wipes, filtration, industrial and automotives. Prior to the acquisition, Fibertex Nonwovens already had spunlace technology in France at a facility acquired from Tharreau Industries in 2011.

“We were experiencing a growing demand for new textiles based on spunlacing technology. The strategic rationale behind the Ribatek acquisition was to increase our total capacity of specialized products within spunlacing and product mix as well as to ensure a strong technology platform,” Madsen says. “Ribatek was the perfect match due to Ribatek’s high quality, strategic fit and strategically important geographical location.”

Capital investment is also an important part of Fibertex Nonwovens’ growth strategy. In South Africa, it has added a second state-of-the-art needlepunched production line as well as additional land and buildings. This business, established in 2010, has experienced significantly increased demand not only for products for the growing South African automotive industry and infrastructure programs, but also for industrial applications, Madsen says.

“The capacity expansion is in line with the strategies and growth objectives of the company, including the expansion into Africa,” he says. “The increased investment in state-of-the-art production capacity not only increases workforce in an area with high unemployment but also proves that South Africa is an attractive location for world class production.”

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic Fibertex Nonwovens has added a new needlepunch line targeting the automotives industry, and in France and Denmark lines are being upgraded to expand their technology offerings.
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertex.com
2016 Nonwovens Sales: $200 million


Key Personnel
Jørgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Mona Nielsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen COO; Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, group R&D director; Bjarne Knudsen, managing director

Plants
Denmark, Czech Republic, U.S., France, Turkey, South Africa

Processes
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnating, coating

Major Markets
Acoustics, automotives bedding, building industry, composites, concrete, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden horticulture, medical, wipes

Fibertex Nonwovens’ facilities, which are located around the world, continue to boost the company. In 2016, sales increased 6.5% to reach DKK1301 million ($200 million) thanks largely to the acquisition of Ribatek, a Turkish spunlace producer, in late 2015, as well as growing sales to the global automotives industry and an improved product mix featuring more advanced products.

The Turkish operation has allowed Fibertex Nonwovens to build off spunlaced assets already existing at its French location, making it one of the largest makers of crosslapped nonwovens for technical applications. These two operations are major suppliers to the specialty and technical wipes markets globally.

In addition to Turkey and France, Fibertex Nonwovens operates plants in Denmark, where it is headquartered, and the Czech Republic, South Africa and the U.S.

In the Czech Republic, Fibertex Nonwovens added a new needlepunch line in 2016. The investment has allowed the company to make lightweight nonwovens for automotive manufacturers in Europe, particularly the Eastern part of the continent. “A lot of manufacturing is popping up in Eastern Europe so it’s a good location to have assets,” Madsen says.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Fibertex Nonwovens currently operates two manufacturing lines at a site it established in 2010. This facility mainly serves the geotextiles, industrial and automotive markets, which are not growing as quickly as expected.

Fibertex Nonwovens’ North American operation was acquired from Non Wovens Solutions, an Illinois-based needlepunch manufacturer in October 2014. The existing location, which currently houses two lines, has not only allowed the company to grow sales of its value-added products for the composite, filtration and automotives industries, it has brought Fibertex Nonwovens closer to its customers in North America.

“We will expand there but there has been no decision made yet,” Madsen says. “We are working in many segments so we are constantly looking at ways to support our customers.”

In fact, supporting customer developments has been the motivation behind Fibertex Nonwovens’ acquisition and investment activities around the world during the past decade.

“We follow our customers’ developments. If they move geographies, then we will move to new geographies,” Madsen says.

Asia will is also in the company’s sites.  The company has recently started development and logistic companies in both India and China. “Our plan is to absolutely have lines there,” says CEO Jørgen Bech Madsen. “But we are taking absolute baby steps.”

In India, capacity would likely serve infrastructure improvements with materials for geotextile and construction applications, while any Chinese lines would service Fibertex’s key global accounts in the automotives market.
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertexnonwovens.com
2017 Nonwovens Sales: $217 million


Key Personnel
Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO: Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, group R&D director; Bjarne Knudsen, managing director

Plants
Denmark, Czech Republic, U.S., France, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil

Processes
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnating, coating

Major Markets
Acoustics, automotives, bedding, building, composites, concrete, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture, medical, wipes


At the start of 2018, Fibertex Nonwovens continued its global expansion through the acquisition of a Brazilian operation. Duci, based in an industrial district west of Sao Paulo, has about 130 employees and generated revenue of about DKK 115 million ($18 million) in 2017.

Duci has a relatively new production platform centered around spunlace technology for technical applications, according to the company.

“Buying Duci was a good opportunity to build our position in South America across markets like automotives, filtration, shoe components and wipes,” says Jorgen Bech Madsen, president of Fibertex Nonwovens. “It is a well driven company with the right technical platform and space for expansion.”

Duci’s technology is similar to crosslapped spunlace technology already employed by Fibertex in France and Turkey. These operations have made Fibertex Nonwovens one of the largest makers of crosslapped nonwovens for technical applications in the world.

Much of Fibertex Nonwovens’ global expansion during the past several years has been achieved through acquisition. It acquired Ribatek, a Turkish company, in 2015, and purchased a U.S.-based needlepuncher in 2014, giving it its first entry into North America. The moves followed similar deals in France and the Czech Republic earlier in the decade.

The company also established a greenfield operation in South Africa in 2010 which mainly focuses on the geotextiles, industrial and automotives markets.

All of this investment has paid off. In 2017, sales at the maker of nonwovens for technical applications increased 9% to reach DKK 1,422 million ($217 million)  thanks to broad-based growth across all of the company’s operations. Highlights of the year included growing sales in the automotives market, an improved product mix with higher sales of advanced products and improvements in European sales to the construction industry.

In the U.S., Fibertex’s operation, which was acquired in 2014, has continued to prove itself as a long-term investment for the company. With two needlepunch lines, the facility has grown its sales of value-added products for the composite, filtration and automotives industries and brought the company closer to its customers in North America.
Meanwhile, Fibertex’s South African operation has faced several challenges including raw material shortages and overcapacity in the market, but Bech Madsen remains confident that the business group can help build the company’s overall business by supporting Europe and facilitating growth in business in Asia and India.

While India and Asia continue to be a growth priority for Fibertex, there are currently no plans to acquire or otherwise invest in these areas, he adds.

Over the past several years, Fibertex Nonwovens has developed a solid portfolio of new products that allow it to serve high value markets for nonwovens such as automotives, composites, filtration and acoustics.

To continue to meet the needs of these markets, the company is constantly expanding its facilities and upgrading its lines. For example, the company has added a specialty line for filtration applications in the Czech Republic and undertaken line upgrades across all of its manufacturing sites.

“There is always a lot going on to help add value to product,” Madsen says. “We have the advantage that we master a lot of different technologies.”
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertexnonwovens.com
2018 Nonwovens Sales: $234 million


Key Personnel
Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO: Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, group R&D director; Bjarne Knudsen, managing director

Plants
Denmark, Czech Republic, U.S., France, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil

Processes
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnating, coating

Major Markets
Acoustics, automotives, bedding, building, composites, concrete, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture, medical, wipes


Fibertex Nonwovens continues to grow through acquisition. In January 2019, the Denmark-based maker of nonwovens for a number of technical markets purchased Mogul’s U.S. operation in Grey Court, SC, providing it with instant access to 14,000 tons of spunlace nonwovens to target growth in the North American market.

“The acquisition brings us closer to our U.S., customers,” says CEO Jorgen Bech Madsen. “We have been sold out in Chicago for a while and have been importing a lot from Europe.”

Fibertex already has a needlepunch site near Chicago, IL, which it acquired from Non Woven Solutions in October 2014 for about $25 million. This operation has largely targeted the automotives market in North America.

In addition to adding to  its U.S. manufacturing footprint, the Mogul purchase also gives Fibertex increased capacity of a technology it knows well.

“Mogul is a strategic fit because we have experience in spunlace market in Turkey and Brazil but we have no local production in the U.S.,” Madsen says. “The site also has a lot of land and is in a good location so we will definitely expand.”

The North American line mainly targets wipes as well as some personal care products.

Fibertex’s acquisition of Mogul’s U.S. site is just the latest in a string of expansion efforts that have increased the company’s global footprint. In February 2018, Fibertex acquired DUCI, a Brazilian-owned nonwovens manufacturer with strong potential in the automotives industry. DUCI manufactures spunlaced nonwovens, a technology Fibertex already uses at its sites in France and Turkey.

The incorporation of DUCI builds on existing technologies and market expertise Fibertex already had in Europe, in particular the automotives market, and will allow the company to follow its customers across the Atlantic Ocean.

The acquisition of DUCI also opened doors to the South American market with products for the composite industry as well as high-performance wipes, where Fibertex Nonwovens has a strong position in Europe.

In fact, just eight months after purchase, Fibertex announced plans to expand production at the site by 20% to accommodate growing demand for special-purpose products for the automotive and other industries. At the time of the announcement, executives said that the DUCI integration had by far exceeded expectations.

“We’ve been planning to expand capacity since acquiring DUCI, but the need has arisen faster than we anticipated, and we will begin to upgrade the existing production line immediately,” Madsen says. “We know from previous experience in expanding our other factory sites that an upgrade can increase our output capacity by 20%. In addition, we will accelerate planning for other expansion projects.”

Estimated at close to DKK 15 million, the investment will add capacity that has already been sold extra to the growing Brazilian market, which is the world’s sixth-largest and accounts for more than half of the entire South American market.

In other investment news, Fibertex has added in a nanofiber line at its Aalborg, Denmark, headquarters targeting the filter media market.

In addition to a new production line, which uses a range of polymers and is able to tailor them for a wide range of different applications, Fibertex Nonwovens has also invested in new lab facilities, new converting and post-processing lines for e.g. plasma treatment, giving the products quite unique permanently hydrophobic properties.

According to executives, the filtration market is turning out to be one of the most promising markets for Fibertex Nonwovens. The company’s new filtration media offer higher filtration efficiency with less pressure drop than in conventional filtration products. The greater active surface area of the nanofibers and minute deviations in pore size ensure very high filtration material performance. Potential applications for these nano-based filtration products include liquid and air filtration, to filter out bacteria or pollen, for example. The fibers in the nanoproducts have a thickness of only 100 nanometers, whereas ordinary nonwoven fiber are about 100 times thicker.

“We see a huge potential in the filtration market, and our ambition is to become a leading global player capable of manufacturing filters with a wide range of different properties. In addition, we have the facilities to produce these products under fully controlled and certified production conditions ensuring environmentally-responsible and sustainable production,” Madsen continues.

He adds that all the equipment installed in the new premises is fully compliant with the highest environmental and safety standards.
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertexnonwovens.com
2019 Nonwovens Sales: $269 million


Key Personnel
Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO: Henrik Eigenbrod, CFO; Keld Lauridsen, group R&D director; Bjarne Knudsen, managing director

Plants
Denmark, Czech Republic, U.S., France, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil

Processes
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnating, coating

Major Markets
Acoustics, automotives, bedding, building, composites, concrete, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture, medical, wipes

A string of acquisitions has helped boost Fibertex Nonwovens’ sales in recent years and expand its role into a number of markets and regions. Its most recent acquisition, in January 2019, was a U.S.-based spunlace facility from Mogul Nonwovens. The Grey Court, SC site added 14,000 tons of capacity to the company’s global output and is allowing it to target growth in North America. Since acquiring the site, Fibertex has upgraded the spunlace line to add special features and enlarge its product range as well as enter value-added business segments within wipes and medical applications.

In other investment news, Fibertex Nonwovens has upgraded an existing needlepunch line in South Africa and relocated it to North America. The relocation will increase output capacity in North America and support growth while aligning the company’s capacity in South Africa to meet current needs, according to the company.
“By expanding in North America, we continue our very strong development within needlepunch within automotive, building, furniture and bedding, filtration, and industrial markets, while providing for future growth,” says Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO. “The new state-of-the-art high capacity needlepunch line will provide opportunities to be closer to some customers, offering greater flexibility and capacity as well as sustainable products.”

Fibertex Nonwovens had already produced needlepunched nonwovens in the U.S. at a site outside Chicago, IL, which was acquired from Non Woven Solutions in October 2014. This site largely targets the automotives market.

In 2018, Fibertex Nonwovens expanded its global footprint into Brazil through the acquisition of Duci, a Brazilian-owned manufacturer with a strong potential in the automotives industry. Duci was a maker of spunlaced nonwovens for industrial application, a technology Fibertex Nonwovens already made in France. Incorporating Duci has allowed Fibertex Nonwovens to follow its customers across the Atlantic Ocean by opening doors in South America with products for the composite industry as well as high performance wipes where Fibertex Nonwovens has a strong position in Europe.

Just eight months after purchasing Duci, in early 2019, Fibertex announced it would expand production at the site by 20% to accommodate growing demand for special purpose products for the automotive and other industries. This investment was estimated at DKK15 million. According to Madsen, the company was able to keep production up and running throughout 2020 despite slowdowns in many markets brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have a strong position in the Brazilian market,” he adds. “In fact, the pandemic brought new customers and new demands for nonwovens.”

In other investment moves, Fibertex has started up nanotechnology applications, restructured production in the Czech Republic and Turkey and optimized production across its European sites. In terms of development and innovation, the company has built a solid portfolio of new projects including new products for automotive and composite industries and for filtration and acoustic purposes, while steadily expanding capacity and upgrading production lines to increase the proportion of value-added products.

For the first half of 2020, a promising start was soon cut short by the impact of the coronavirus in the first quarter. However, Fibertex Nonwovens quickly and successful realigned its production capacity from automotive and industrial purposes to other products in strong demand, thereby increasing its capacity for manufacturing healthcare-related products.

“The coronavirus situation affected operations in Europe, especially in France and the Czech Republic,” Madsen says. “However, we are seeing a recovery in the automotive industry and the European automotive industry is expected gradually to increase volumes, although at a somewhat lower operational level than anticipated at the start of the year. The wipes, filtration and medical markets have seen gains.”
Aalborg, Denmark
www.fibertexnonwovens.com
2020 Nonwovens Sales: $285 million


Key Personnel
Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO; Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO; Lars Bertelsen, COO: Steen Bach Svoldgaard, CFO; Lancelot Woolley, Group R&D director; Bjarne Knudsen, managing director

Plants
Denmark, Czech Republic, U.S., France, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil

Processes
Needlepunch, spunlace, impregnating, coating

Major Markets
Acoustics, automotives, bedding, building, composites, concrete, construction, filtration, flooring, furniture, geotextiles, home and garden, horticulture, wipes

Investments on both sides of the Atlantic will set up Fibertex Nonwovens, headquartered in Aalborg, Denmark, for significant growth. The company is investing DKK 600 million in a series of investments at its sites in the Czech Republic, Turkey and the U.S.

In spring 2021, Fibertex Nonwovens said it would add capacity and increase capabilities at its sites in South Carolina, the Czech Republic and Turkey as part of a plan to drive its sales to $400 million by 2026 from $285 million in 2020.

“Demand for our nonwovens has increased significantly in recent years. It concerns particularly the more specialized applications and high-performance materials for the healthcare sector, industrial products, specialist acoustic products for the automotive industry, nanofiltration for industrial purposes, etc.,” says Jorgen Bech Madsen, CEO. “Our business development and research activities over the past 10 years have afforded us a leading position in both Europe and the U.S. and this is the direct reason for the investment.”

Much of the North American investment will involve land acquisition as well as the construction of a new spunlace line at its site in Grey Court, SC. This new line is described as a high capacity, state-of-the-art spunlace line which will allow the company to process sustainable materials and make unique substrates. Fibertex purchased the South Carolina site in early 2019 and added a spunlace line in 2019 and a needlepunch line—which was relocated from South Africa— in 2020. The company expects to increase revenue from its U.S. operations, which also includes a needlepunch operation in Illinois, to more than DKK 1 billion, or $160 million, within a few years.

In Europe, Fibertex Nonwovens is adding a spunlace line in Svitavy, Czech Republic, as part of its European investment program. This program also includes increased capacity as well as the addition of finishing and coating lines at its site in Turkey. These investments will help target growth in the disinfectant wipes and healthcare sectors.

“We’ve got a lean and high-tech production setup with clear focus on innovation, and the new production line is to serve the huge demand for disinfection wipes from the healthcare sector,” Bech Madsen says. “This demand was rising even before the coronavirus pandemic, but we expect it to increase even further in the coming years. With this new investment, we’ll be able to offer new and sustainable product properties that’ll help meet the demands of the future in this field. At the same time, we’re freeing up capacity at several of our other European plants, allowing us to explore new opportunities within the manufacture of acoustic products for the automotive industry and products for filtration.”

In recent years, Fibertex Nonwovens has expanded its global footprint through the acquisition of the Turkish site from Ribatek Nonwovens as well as manufacturing assets in France, the Czech Republic, Brazil and the U.S., and has established a greenfield site in South Africa.

“It’s crucial that we take advantage of the current momentum to strengthen our position. There’s an ‘open window’ for expansion and we’ve got the resources to take advantage of the opportunities,” says Jens Bjerg Sørensen, president and CEO of parent company Schouw & Co. “Fibertex Nonwovens has huge potential and with the new investments in both the US and Europe, it can significantly increase its revenue and earnings.”