Fibertex Nonwovens, headquartered in Aalborg, Denmark, is embarking on a second stage of expansions with an investment of $48,401,148 (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 specialty products.
In March 2021, Fibertex Nonwovens, a subsidiary of the Danish industrial conglomerate Schouw & Co. in Aarhus, Denmark, announced an investment of $48,401,148 (DKK 300 million) in a capacity expansion of one of the company’s two plants in the U.S. 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:
“Demand for our nonwovens has increased significantly in recent years,” says Jørgen Bech Madsen, CEO of Fibertex Nonwovens. “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. 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 [$96,802,296] (DKK 600 million) in capacity expansions.”
He adds that the coronavirus pandemic has led to an explosive demand for hygiene products, such as disinfectant wipes. Fibertex Nonwovens ability to produce specialized products with unique properties at relatively low costs is increasingly recognized in the market.
New production line in the Czech Republic focusing on high-tech, sustainable products
Fibertex Nonwovens is increasingly using the so-called spunlace technology, which is a relatively new production method where high-speed jets of water are used to entangle the fibers of the nonwoven textiles. Fibertex Nonwovens has years of positive experience with this 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,” says Bech Madsen. “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.”
Capacity expansion in Turkey for value-added products
In 2015, Fibertex Nonwovens acquired the nonwovens operations of the Turkish manufacturer Ribatek. The plant is in the city of Cerkezkoy in western Turkey, nearly 62 miles (100 km) northwest of Istanbul, and it specializes 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 specialized nonwovens products.
“The plant in Turkey complements the production units of our other European and U.S. plants by manufacturing high-tech products,” says Bech Madsen. “For example, we’re experiencing growing demand for various forms of finishing, which allow us to add entirely unique properties to the products,”
Consolidation is part of ambitious growth plan
The investments in Europe and the U.S. totaling $96,802,296 (DKK 600 million) form part of an ambitious growth strategy for the period to 2026. Fibertex Nonwovens generated revenue of $2,904,068,880 (DKK 1.8 billion) in 2020 and is expected to increase the top line to around $4,033,429,000 (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,” says 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.