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Bonded Fibre Fabric.

Bonded Fibre Fabric

Bath Road Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 4NZ England (0278) 428500; Fax (0278) 429499

Worldwide Nonwovens Sales: $35 million (about 50% of this in dollar terms is nonwoven roll goods; the remainder is nonwoven converted product sales) Key Personnel: Michael Morris, managing director; Peter Fewell, sales and marketing director; Rob Gawne, manufacturing director; Dominic Lynch, financial director Processes: Dry Laid, Chemical Bonded, Thermal Bonded, Spunlaced Brand Names: Seranova, Novoweb; Freshtex and Tumblefresh Major Markets: Industrial--Battery Separators, Shoe Components, Coatings, Wipes, Liquid Filtration, Horticulture, Upholstery, Sound Insulation, Hygiene--Coverstock for Baby and Adult Diapers, Sanitary Protection, Medical--Spunlaced Fabrics for Compresses, Surgical Dressings, Substrates, Apparel and Wipes, Disposable Garments, Sheets, Pillow Cases, Interlinings Notes: New ownership very often means new management and in the case of Bonded Fibre Fabric, the only U.K. company profiled this year, this axiom has been carried to the extreme. Since the company was acquired by Lamont Holdings, Belfast, N. Ireland, from Courtaulds early last year an entirely new management team has assembled and the organization has been streamlined from top to bottom.

Now the current executive team, all of whom have joined in the past 12 months, feels the people have been put in place to take advantage of the strong technical abilities left from the Courtaulds years. Heading the effort is Michael Morris, whose background is in electrical engineering but whose expertise is rapidly becoming turning a nonwovens company around.

BFF had total turnover of $34 million (21 million [pounds]) last year, about half of which was from its Consumer Products Group. But it has a strong base in chemical bonding (six lines) and thermal bonding and a new spunlaced unit fueling a move into new markets. About 30% of its production is exported from the U.K., mostly into mainland Europe.

"We are doing a lot of rationalizing of the business right now," Mr. Morris said. "Some areas we have rationalized right out of. We are becoming leaner and fitter." He said about 120 people have been trimmed from the BFF payroll in the past year and unprofitable markets have been abandoned in order to concentrate resources on potentially healthier niches. "We are producing more with less people and have improved our customer service significantly," he said.

"There were just a host of common sense things that had been neglected that we have turned around," Mr. Morris continued. "A major part of our effort has gone towards improving productivity, getting good agreements with the workforce, reducing waste and improving the morale of the business."

Spearheading all of these moves is a management team put in place all within the last year. Mr. Morris joined last September, sales and marketing director Peter Fewell, who had been marketing director of the Freshtex Div., came on board in January and was followed by financial director Dominic Lynch in March and manufacturing director Rob Gawne in April.

"We are starting over with a good plant and equipment," Mr. Morris said. Included in that is the multi-million investment in spunlacing that began under Courtaulds' ownership but was completed in the spring of 1990 under the Lamont aegis. The spunlaced "Seranova" nonwovens, being produced in a weight range from 20-100 grams sq. meter, are targeted at the medical and hygiene markets, wet wipes, coating substrates and automotive applications.

BFF is obviously receiving the full support of Lamont, where it fits in much better than it did under the Courtaulds umbrella. Lamont does about 90% of its business in textiles, primarily carpeting, furnishing and apparel. It sees BFF as an entry into higher end textiles and has spent more than 1 million [pound] in the past year on improvements ranging from machinery modifications to a new converting area.

"The next step is to have our strategy take effect," Mr. Morris said. "We will be looking to see how we can expand the business in both the roll goods and converted product areas, by producing in the new conversion area and by looking at new technologies."
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Title Annotation:nonwoven fabrics business
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:company profile
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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