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Ergon Nonwovens, Lantor BV join in European joint venture.

Ergon Nonwovens, Lantor BV Join In European Joint Venture

Two of the more innovative producers of nonwovens in the world have joined a portion of their marketing forces that will enable each to expand into new technical and geographical territories. Ergon Nonwovens, Jackson, MS, and Lantor BV, Veenendaal, the Netherlands, recently announced an agreement that will allow Lantor to be the exclusive European distributor for Ergon microfiber nonwovens.

The products included under the joint venture arrangement will continue to be manufactured by Ergon in the U.S., but plans for a jointly owned manufacturing plant in the Netherlands are already in the works. "We see it happening in three to five years, probably earlier rather than later," Dennis Wood, vice president, Ergon Nonwovens, told Nonwovens Industry. "It depends on the interest in Europe," he added, where melt blown nonwovens are not necessarily as accepted as in the U.S. The new facility will most likely be in Veenendaal, where Lantor is headquartered, said Mr. Wood.

Ergon currently markets oil sorbent products in Europe through its own subsidiary, Ergon Environmental Fabrics, Oldenzaal, the Netherlands, and will continue to do so. The Lantor joint venture, on the other hand, targets two primary markets - air and liquid filtration and medical products. In addition, composites will definitely be a target of the joint venture.

Lantor has invested 1.5 million Dutch Guilders ($920,000 U.S.) for a special lamination machine and, Mr. Wood said, "there has also been a great deal of interest in the availability of composites." He said the company will be working on "every kind of composite you can think of," using Lantor's laminating capabilities and array of technologies to combine materials into a variety of new products.

Ergon views the joint venture as a logical expansion of its market. "Ergon is looking at the global market, not just the North American continent." said Mr. Wood. "We are trying to move in that direction to expand our market base and product lines."

From Lantor's perspective, the joint venture represents another link with a U.S. nonwovens company. Lantor already owns Lantor Fiber-Taxis, Bellingham, MA, a U.S. needlepuncher that it purchased in November, 1988 and turned around from a struggling commodity fabrics manufacturer into a profitable producer of specialty nonwovens. Early last year, Lantor also purchased technology from Grain Processing, Muscatine, IA, that uses starch as a swellable powder to make cable tapes. Lantor has yet to reveal any official plans to move further into the U.S. market either through acquisitions or manufacturing capability.
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Title Annotation:Nonwovens News
Author:Noonan, Ellen
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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