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Belarus may become center of nonwovens production in Eastern Europe: private, public efforts should lead to rapid increases in nonwovens production over the next five year.

Belarus, a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, may become one of the centers of nonwovens production in the European continent, due to recently announced plans of Svetlogorsk Himvolokno, the country's state-owned nonwovens monopoly, to invest up to $500 million in a significant expansion of nonwovens production in the country during the next several years.

In recent years the development of the nonwovens industry has become one of the priorities for the Belarus government, while implementation of the majority of projects in the industry is personally controlled by Belarus'president Alexander Lukashenko.

The plans issued by the Belarus government call for a significant increase of nonwovens production during the next several years. This expansion will provide an opportunity to the country to start exporting materials abroad, which should help to attract additional exchange earnings--an acute need for the country's struggling economy. According to state plans, Belarus should become one of the largest nonwovens producers in Eastern Europe and the largest in the former Soviet region, overtaking even Russia, by 2018-2019 despite the recently announced plans of the country's government to increase volume significantly by 2020.

As part of these plans, Svetlogorsk Himvolokno, which is based in Svetlogorsk, one of the centers of the Belarus petrochemical industry, has launched a new line for the production of nonwoven material.

The initial capacity expansion will equal 30,000 tons per year, with the possibility of a significant increase in production during the next several years. This production will allow manufacturers to continue to make polypropylene-based nonwoven materials including SpunBel and AquaSpun.

Overall, the company plans to implement at least six investment projects in the field of nonwovens during the next five years that will take place on different production facilities of the company throughout Belarus. Particular attention will be paid for a significant increase of nonwovens production for construction purposes.

At the same time, similar plans are being considered by Mogilevkhimvolokno, another Belarus leading state-owned petrochemical producer, which has announced its plans to begin producing nonwovens for wipes with an initial capacity of 5500 tons per year.

The Belarus government is also working hard to attract foreign investments to the industry. To date, officials have begun negotiations with some Western nonwoven producers, as well as Chinese investors for the establishment of nonwovens production within the country.

From its side, the government of the country plans to provide benefits and concessions to those foreign producers that will establish their production facilities in the country. This will include both customs and tax benefits.

The successful implementation of these plans and investment projects will allow annual nonwovens production to increase to 1.5 billion square meters by 2019 and reach as high as 2.2-2.3 billion by 2021. The volume of nonwovens production in Belarus has already increased more than four-fold during the past 10 years.

Belarus At-A-Glance

* Population: 9.4 million

* Neighboring countries: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Polish Republic

* GDP per capita: $7500

* Birth rate: 1.67

* Major industries: metallurgical, mechanical engineering, chemical, light industry, food industry

By Eugene Gerden, Contributing Editor
COPYRIGHT 2016 Rodman Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Russia
Comment:Belarus may become center of nonwovens production in Eastern Europe: private, public efforts should lead to rapid increases in nonwovens production over the next five year.(Russia)
Author:Gerden, Eugene
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Geographic Code:4E0EE
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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