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Leading nonwovens producer eyes South African market
23
Dec '09
Aalborg-based nonwovens manufacturer sets ups business in South Africa. This is a strategic initiative aimed at giving Fibertex easy access to markets which hold plans for huge future investments in, among other things, infrastructure.

From the turn of the year, Fibertex will set up business with a factory in South Africa with a view to manufacturing and marketing needlepunch products - primarily geotextiles for road works, but also products for the growing South African automotive industry.

The basis of this initiative is that Fibertex sees a huge potential in the region. In South Africa alone, plans are in place to invest more than DKK 500 billion in the country's infrastructure over the next five years. And the neighbouring countries have similar plans in the pipeline.

"This is a significant expansion of the infrastructure in large parts of southern Africa which will even be further increased in the coming years. Large road and bridge construction projects etc. have been launched and more are under way. Geotextiles are essential elements to such projects and this is where we come in with our high-tech production at competitive prices", says Jørgen Bech Madsen, CEO of Fibertex Industrial Nonwovens.

Jørgen Bech Madsen expects that local production on a state-of-the-art facility and sale of geotextiles combined with low production costs and the extensive expertise of Fibertex Industrial Nonwovens in the area will make Fibertex in South Africa an attractive supplier and business partner.

The automotive industry is also experiencing strong growth in southern Africa and this offers Fibertex good opportunities to produce different products for this industry which only to a lesser extent are produced in Africa today.

For Fibertex, which is owned by the industrial conglomerate Schouw & Co., this is a strategic initiative. After the factory has been run in and the markets have been penetrated, Jørgen Bech Madsen sees a huge future potential in the South African campaign:

"We have competent employees with industry experience to run the factory so we will not be tying up key management resources in the project. The factory will have a high-tech, state-of-the-art and competitive production system and we will supply a total Fibertex concept, which means technology and know-how - both in relation to production and administration," says Jørgen Bech Madsen. The factory will have a just over 40 employees.

The annual turnover of the South African company is expected to be approx. DKK 60-80 million with decent profit in the coming years. From a long-term strategic perspective, the project furthermore serves as a bridgehead - not only to southern Africa, but eventually also to other markets in the Southern Hemisphere such as Australasia, India, the Middle East and South America.

"As owners, we see a vast potential in this initiative which both internationalises Fibertex and makes Fibertex Industrial Nonwovens a local and regional player able to compete with the other nonwovens manufacturers in this part of the world," says Jens Bjerg Sørensen, President of Schouw & Co.

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