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Geotextiles remain focus of Polyfelt.

Taking time to catch up with its acquisitions and investments of the past four years is the focus of the Polyfelt Group, Linz Linz (lĭnts), city (1991 pop. 203,044), capital of Upper Austria, NW Austria, a major port on the Danube River. It is a commercial and industrial center and a rail junction. , Austria Austria (ô`strēə), Ger. Österreich [eastern march], officially Republic of Austria, federal republic (2005 est. pop. 8,185,000), 32,374 sq mi (83,849 sq km), central Europe. , number 17 in our Top Companies survey this year. The company, which has been involved in a major expansion program worldwide since 1989, is read-justing its resources and gearing up to take advantage of the investments made.

The company in 1990 acquired Bidim Geosynthetics, a geotextile producer in Bezons, France; it also made the decision that year to expand in Linz and in the U.S. at its Evergreen evergreen, term commonly used as synonymous with conifer and applied also to all those broad-leaved plants that bear green leaves throughout the year. Of the latter, most are plants of the tropics, subtropics, and other areas where the growing season is prolonged (e. , AL facility. In 1992, it acquired a joint interest in Geofabrics Australasia, a geotextile manufacturer located in Albury, Australia, as well as completing its major expansion in the U.S. "With the development of these initiatives we have invested significant capital and it is now our philosophy to concentrate on these investments," said David Price There have been a number of people named David Price:
  • Sir David Price (British politician) (b. 1924) was a British Conservative Member of Parliament in the 1970s and 1980s
  • David Price (Canadian politician) (b.
, president-Polyfelt Americas. "We must now be sure that these investments pay dividends and become optimized to the maximum extent. We've invested aggressively over the past four years; it is now time to develop the profitability of these investments," he said.

Mr. Price pointed out that as these major capital expansions come onstream, the company is facing difficult market conditions around the world. "We have reorganized re·or·gan·ize  
v. re·or·gan·ized, re·or·gan·iz·ing, re·or·gan·iz·es
To organize again or anew.

To undergo or effect changes in organization.
 our resources, primarily repositioning repositioning Laparoscopic surgery The changing of a Pt's position during a procedure to improve access or visualization of the operative field, which may be linked to complications, as it changes anatomic planes of operation. Cf Laparoscopic surgery.  people in their areas of greatest expertise," he said.

To that end, Mr. Price himself has moved to his current position as head of Polyfelt Americas. He is replaced as group manager by Michael Trampert, who will be responsible for worldwide operations but will concentrate mainly on Europe. This change was effective September 1.

Other news at the company centers around a production modernization modernization

Transformation of a society from a rural and agrarian condition to a secular, urban, and industrial one. It is closely linked with industrialization. As societies modernize, the individual becomes increasingly important, gradually replacing the family,
 investment in Bezons, France at the company's Bidim subsidiary. A new production unit will start up late this year, directing 95% of its capacity to geotextile applications.

"Fundamentally we are a geotextile company," said Mr. Price. "We derive 90-95% of our business from geotextiles and related geosynthetic markets; it is our main emphasis and will continue to be." The company's other 5% of sales targets industrial applications.

Polyfelt operates three production facilities and owns 50% of a fourth in Australia. Worldwide the company has a capacity of 42,000 metric tons. It has been concentrating on product and process technology innovations related to the geotextile and geosynthetic market.

At issue at Polyfelt is the overcapacity o·ver·ca·pac·i·ty  
Too great a capacity for production of commodities or delivery of services in relation to actual need: the problem of overcapacity in many large industries. 
 in the geotextile market, as more and more new capacity has come onstream in 1992 and 1993. This, in combination with the worldwide recession, depressed prices Depressed price

In the context of stocks, stock whose market price is low in comparison to stocks in its sector.
, limiting the Polyfelt Group's growth in sales to 4% in 1992.

At Polyfelt Americas, however, sales volume growth in 1992 exceeded 40%, as the new production line became operational. "We have experienced good volume growth," said Mr. Price; "however, new competitive capacity is also entering the market at a rapid pace. While we feel we are well positioned, we are anticipating a tough market for the next two to three years," said Mr. Price.

The U.S. market has fared better than other world markets in terms of growth, most of which Mr. Price described as flat or experiencing moderate growth. "The European European

emanating from or pertaining to Europe.

European bat lyssavirus
see lyssavirus.

European beech tree

European blastomycosis
see cryptococcosis.
 economy and consequently the geotextile market is now where the U.S. was a year and a half ago," said Mr. Price. "Asia and Australia are stable and Eastern Europe Eastern Europe

The countries of eastern Europe, especially those that were allied with the USSR in the Warsaw Pact, which was established in 1955 and dissolved in 1991.
, while a potential market, also has geotextile producers that are seeking business in the West, creating some oversupply o·ver·sup·ply  
n. pl. o·ver·sup·plies
A supply in excess of what is appropriate or required.

tr.v. o·ver·sup·plied, o·ver·sup·ply·ing, o·ver·sup·plies
 for Europe as a whole."

ISO (1) See ISO speed.

(2) (International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland, An organization that sets international standards, founded in 1946. The U.S. member body is ANSI.
 certification is on the calendar for Polyfelt and it is planned because it makes good business sense, said Mr. Price. "It creates a higher quality consciousness and is an overall benefit in improving our profitability," he said. "Are we being driven from the outside?," questioned Mr. Price. "Yes, to some extent, but ISO certification will also help us to provide better products and services to the market." The company is expecting to receive ISO 9001 at both European locations by the end of 1994 and America by mid- mid-
Middle: midbrain. 

In conclusion, Mr. Price said, "The growth of the geotextile market has attracted new competitive entries without consideration for total market demand to supply and acceptable profitability levels. This aggressive behavior is, in the short term, unhealthy for the producers and the industry."

Polyfelt Ges.m.b.H. A-4021 Linz, St.-Peter-Strasse 25, Austria 43 732 5983-0; Fax: 43 732 5983-175

Polyfelt Americas 1000 Abernathy Road, Building 400, Suite 826, Atlanta, GA 30328 404-668-2119; Fax: 404-668-2116

Worldwide Nonwovens Sales: $114 million

U.S. Nonwovens Sales: $19 million

Key Personnel: D. Price, president-Polyfelt Americas: Dr. M. Trampert, group managing director; J. Jahn, managing director-European region; Dr. N. Niedermayr, group controller; H. Bocksrucker, vice president-group R&D and manufacturing, Linz; Dr. P. Woisetschlager, group projects manager; H. Schneider, president-Bidim Geosynthetics S.A.; G. Gohring, vice president-sales, Europe; R. Orr, vice president-sales, Americas; G. Werner, vice president-technical services, Linz; B. Christopher, vice president-technical services, Americas

Plants: Linz, Austria; Evergreen, AL; Bezons, France; Albury, Australia

Processes: Spunbonded, Needlepunched

Brand Names: Polyfelt, Bidim (geotextiles), Earthfelt, Top Tex (agriculture/horticulture), Absorbofelt (industrial)

Major Markets: Geotextiles and Geosynthetics
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Title Annotation:International Top 30
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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