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AALBORG - Fibertex Nonwovens has announced the second stage of its expansion plan with an investment of DKK 300 million in the company’s plants in the Czech Republic and Turkey.

The investment was prompted by increased global demand for the company’s high-tech and sustainable speciality products.

In March 2021, Fibertex Nonwovens, a subsidiary of the Danish industrial conglomerate Schouw & Co. in Aarhus, Denmark, announced an investment of just over DKK 300 million in a capacity expansion of one of the company’s two plants in the USA. Fibertex Nonwovens is now investing the same amount in Europe with a capacity expansion of the company’s existing plants in the Czech Republic and Turkey.

Jørgen Bech Madsen, CEO of Fibertex Nonwovens said that demand for the company's nonwovens had increased significantly in recent years. "It concerns particularly the more specialised applications and high-performance materials for the healthcare sector, industrial products, specialist acoustic products for the automotive industry, nanofiltration for industrial purposes," he said. "Our business development and research activities over the past ten years have afforded us a leading position in both Europe and the USA, and this is the direct reason for the total investment of just over DKK 600 million in capacity expansions.”

Madsen also noted that the coronavirus pandemic had led to an explosive demand for hygiene products, such as disinfectant wipes. Fibertex Nonwovens ability to produce specialised products with unique properties at relatively low costs is increasingly recognised in the market.

Fibertex Nonwovens is increasingly using spunlace technology, which sees high-speed jets of water used to entangle the fibres of the nonwoven textiles. Fibertex Nonwovens has years of positive experience with this particular technology, and the lion’s share of the investment will be spent on a new spunlace production line at the company’s plant in Svitavy in the eastern Czech Republic.

“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," Madsen added. "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 2015, Fibertex Nonwovens acquired the nonwovens operations of the Turkish manufacturer Ribatek. The plant is located in the city of Cerkezkoy in western Turkey, nearly 100 kilometres northwest of Istanbul, and it specialises in spunlacing. Here, Fibertex Nonwovens is now investing in an expansion of the current production facilities as well as adding additional lines in finishing and coating with a view to manufacturing specialised nonwovens products.

“The plant in Turkey complements the production units of our other European and US plants by manufacturing high-tech products. For example, we’re experiencing growing demand for various forms of finishing, which allow us to add entirely unique properties to the products.” said Madsen.

The investments in Europe and the USA totaling DKK 600 million form part of an ambitious growth strategy for the period to 2026. Fibertex Nonwovens generated revenue of DKK 1.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to increase the top line to around DKK 2.5 billion over the next five years.

“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,” added Jens Bjerg Sørensen, president and CEO of Schouw & Co. "Fibertex Nonwovens has huge potential and with the new investments in both the USA and Europe, it can significantly increase its revenue and earnings. It’s simply an excellent business case.”

The investment in the Czech Republic and Turkey will not affect revenue and profit expectations for the current financial year, the company said.

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