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Corovin expands into South Africa.

One of the more active nonwoven roll goods companies in the last few years, Corovin GmbH, Peine, Germany, again made news with a recent announcement that it had signed a joint venture agreement to manufacture spunbonded nonwovens in South Africa. Corovin, which is the 25th largest producer of nonwoven roll goods in the world, signed an agreement last month with Industex, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a manufacturer of technical textiles, and Vitamed, Johannesburg, South Africa, a local medical converter. Another South African manufacturer Sasol Polymers, Marshalltown, has agreed to be a major supplier to the venture.

The new venture, which will be named Cordustex, represents a capital investment of R55 million. Cordustex will manufacture polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens for the medical, hygiene and furniture and bedding industries.

The joint venture will be organized in two phases. The first phase, which will cost R30 million, will include building a state-of-the-art production line in the Port Elizabeth-Uitenhage area, which is the headquarters for Industex's "Colibri" towel manufacturing operations. The new facility is expected to be up and running by late 1994, with an expected capacity of 2000 tons annually. It will add about 35 jobs to the area; it will also increase job opportunities for downstream converters. Corovin's research and development center will be heavily involved in the start-up of the new facility; local operational and maintenance staff will be trained in Germany for six months.

Cordustex will use 100% locally-supplied polypropylene raw materials. As mentioned above, Sasol Polymers is one of the key suppliers to the venture; it already manufactures suitable grades of polypropylene chips for the spunbonding operation.

Production from the facility will be exported to Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America and will also be sold in South Africa, stemming the flow of imports by offering a stable supply source at a fair price. Corovin will begin marketing its spunbonded products into South Africa immediately.

The second phase of the project involves a second production line that is due for completion by the end of 1995 or early 1996. The increased capacity will target a wider range of products and concentrate more heavily on the export market.

The move represents the first foray into spunbonding for Industex. The company currently manufactures woven technical and household textiles, such as tire and conveyor reinforcement fabrics, coated fabrics, filters, hoses, geotextiles and terry towels. The company had annual sales in excess of R250 million.
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Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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