Aiming to capitalize on the booming demand for advanced nonwovens seen in recent years, Danish industrial group Fibertex Nonwovens is investing $48,513,480 (DKK 300 million) to expand its output capacity and meet the growing need for local production of nonwovens in North America. At the same time, Fibertex Nonwovens has acquired an 84-acre (34-ha) industrial plot adjacent to its existing facilities in South Carolina with a view to expanding further to accommodate demand from North American global brands.
The company has invested heavily in its U.S. presence in recent years: in 2019, Fibertex Nonwovens acquired state-of-the-art spunlacing production facilities in South Carolina and last year, the company added a new production line at the site based on advanced needlepunch technology.
The new investment will include a high-capacity state-of-the art line based on spunlacing, a technology in which Fibertex Nonwovens is a global leader, using sustainable raw materials and adding unique properties. The company aims to build a strong position in the North American market, and this new investment is expected to bring revenue from its U.S. operations to more than $161,711,600 (DKK 1 billion) within a few years.
“Over a period of more than 50 years, nonwovens have evolved into high-tech performance materials used in a wide range of sectors,” says Fibertex Nonwovens CEO Jørgen Bech Madsen, speaking from the company’s headquarters in Aalborg, Denmark. “In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic led to a dramatic surge in demand for PPEs and disinfection products for the healthcare sector, an area where we’re a frontrunner providing innovative products based on spunlacing, advanced needlepunch, nano and other value-added technologies.”
“The global nonwovens market saw substantial growth in 2020, in part driven by the coronavirus pandemic, and we expect to see it grow by a further 8 percent annually during the period to 2026, regardless of how the coronavirus pandemic evolves,” Bech Madsen says. “Especially the North American market is set to see a surge in growth,” he continues, “with demand exceeding supply even before the coronavirus crisis. Fibertex Nonwovens is a major supplier to a wide range of global brands in this market. That’s why we see a special potential in building local production in this market to serve our many customers demanding sustainable products with unique properties.”
“Market trends are finding support in the added focus on health and hygiene, more emphasis on local production and added focus on sustainability, which is also to our benefit. With this new investment, we’ll be able to build an extremely strong position in the important North American market for, among other things, high-performance wipes for sanitizing and disinfection purposes in the healthcare/medical sector, sustainable personal care products, a range of industrial applications as well as in the automotive industry and the construction sector.”
The additional capacity will be based on the spunlacing technology, where the fibers of the nonwoven textiles are entangled using high-speed jets of water, and installed at the company’s site in Greenville, South Carolina. This is a technology Fibertex Nonwovens has been perfecting for several years and one of the reasons why the company is a market leader within special-performance materials and value-added solutions.
“We have a lean, technologically advanced production setup, focused on value-added innovation,” says Bech Madsen. “Our North American operations are based in South Carolina and Illinois. Our strategy is: The Right Technology at the Right Location, which is appreciated by our customers in the automotive industry, the healthcare sector and the construction and filtration industries in the U.S., Brazil, France, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Turkey and South Africa.”
Aiming to boost revenue to $404,279,000
Fibertex Nonwovens operates in a broad range of industries, and ongoing capacity investments and innovation are inherent to its ambitious growth strategy. The investment in the USA forms part of its vision World leader in advanced nonwovens and high-performance solutions, the ambition being to grow revenue from the current level of about $291,080,880 (DKK 1.8 billion) (2020) to some $404,279,000 (DKK 2.5 billion) by 2026.
“Fibertex Nonwovens holds huge potential, which we’re currently unfolding,” says Jens Bjerg Sørensen, president and CEO of Schouw & Co. “The coronavirus pandemic has made what we do even more relevant, and this demand is here to stay. In other words, there’s enormous growth potential, and we intend to build on our current position, especially in advanced and high-tech performance materials.”
“At Schouw & Co., we have the resources and the commitment to continue the ambitious growth journey for Fibertex Nonwovens. We believe we can identify additional capacity-expanding investments over the coming years and potentially also acquisitions that’ll secure a solid, long-term return for Fibertex Nonwovens.”
The investment to increase the capacity in the U.S. will not affect the revenue and earnings guidance for the current financial year.