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Celatose remains independent, names new president.

The lone French manufacturer of disposable diapers will apparently remain under local control, at least for the foreseeable future.

After a month of speculation that it would be sold to a foreign investor, Celatose announced last month that it will remain independent and has appointed industry newcomer Michel Mignard president. Mr. Mignard, the former Directeur General of office machinery company Gestetner France, has purchased a 2% share holding and a provision has been made for his stake to increase to 11%; h replaces Joel Picard, the man who headed the revival of Celatose by the holding company Copi.

It had been reported in late 1991 that the financially troubled French producer, which was technically insolvent and had been looking for a buyer since going into receivership in 1989, had found an unidentified buyer willing to take the risk in a highly competitive, Procter & Gambl dominated diaper industry. Speculation had focused at the time on potential South American suitor. The London Financial Times reported that Celatose had "for some time been in discussions with the Gilinski family, which has industrial interests in Colombia." The, The Times reported in its December 4 edition that the Gilinskis had withdrawn from negotiations with Celatose. Other reports indicated that the French government, which held some control over the matter, preferred continuity for Celatose under French management rather than acceptance of the Gilinski offer.

Celatose, which for the past few years has battled the multinational groups such as P&G and Sweden's Molnlycke in the European disposable diaper market, only recently began making a profit on its scaled down European operations. After losses of Ffr. 224 million ($38 million) in 1989 and debts of more than Ffr 700 million ($120 million), the company reported profits of Ffr 50 million (about $9 million) in 1990. P&G's "Pampers" currently hold 45% of the French diaper market, with Peaudouce number two with about 13%. Celatose is the largest private label supplier serving the country, with a reported 60% of that business.

Mr. Mignard said he plans to make the company the leading European producer of diapers and adult incontinence products, even though Celatose is currently only a very small player in the incontinence field.
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Title Annotation:Top of the News; Michel Mignard
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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