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Kimberly-Clark in the news.

Kimberly-Clark In The News

the world's third largest producer of nonwovens has been very active on the legal, plant and management levels the past few months

Kimberly-Clark, with corporate headquarters in Dallas, TX, research in Roswell, GA and nonwovens and absorbent products plants around the world, used to be a quiet company despite its imposing presence in the nonwovens industry. That has changed significantly in the past year or so as it has taken a much more active role in protecting its patent situation and in becoming more vocal about its new product and capacity expansions.

In just the past month or two K-C, which had nonwovens roll goods sales of $340 million last year, has had a suit with diaper rival Procter & Gamble resolved (see October 1991 NONWOVENS INDUSTRY), sued a major roll goods rival, announced plans for a new feminine hygiene products plant and undergone a management reogranization that many feel may be the first visible sign of a European expansion of its baby diaper business.

Sues Amoco Over RFX

It was about this time last year that the Kimberly-Clark/Reifenhauser spunbond patent lawsuit was finally settled, but then came another legal interruption to the growth of the domestic spunbond business. K-C once again took a strong stand to protect its nonwovens patent position by filing suit against Amoco Fabrics and Fibers, Atlanta, GA, in Federal District Court in Atlanta concerning the alleged patent infringement of Amoco's "RFX" spunbond polypropylene fabrics.

K-C spokesperson Tina Barry told NONWOVENS INDUSTRY that the company filed the suit "seeking unspecified damages and an injunction to stop Amoco from selling nonwoven fabric that infringes on our SMS fabric technology." Amoco, meanwhile, has publicly stated it plans to "defend its position vigrously."

Reveals Plans For Fem Care Products Plant

The Kimberly-Clark Lakeview manufacturing facility in Neenah, WI will be the site of a planned $90 million feminine care products plant. When opened in late 1992, the new 260,000 sq. foot plant is expected to employ about 300 people and have an annual payroll of $9 million. Construction is expected to begin in March.

K-C said the plant will primarily produce its "Kotex" and "New Freedom" lines of feminine care products. It joins two other K-C sites--Conway, AK and New Milford, CT--in the production of its feminine hygiene products. Already made at the Lakeview site are "Huggies" disposable diapers, "Kleenex" facial tissues, "Hi-Dry" household towels and New Freedom and Kotex Lightdays panty liners.

"The new plant is intended to meet the growing needs of our feminine care business and will be designed to accommodate future expansion," said Wayne Sanders, president and chief operating officer, in announcing plans for the new plant. K-C has an option on about 140 acres in the town of Menasha, near Neenah.

Makes Management Changes

In a move unrelated to the new Wisconsin plant, a series of major organizational changes was recently announced by Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX. Included in the changes, which affect the company's consumer, service and industrial businesses and may be a precursor to growth plans in Europe, are:

* Thomas Newby, president of the feminine care sector in the U.S., will relocate to Europe to head K-C's European personal care operations.

* Paul Geisler, president of the infant care sector, will become group president-feminine and adult care.

* Richard Auchter, president of the personal care group, will become group president-infant and child care.

* Kathi Seifert, marketing director of the feminine care sector, will become president of the feminine care sector.

* Ronald Zwisler, marketing director of the household products sector-U.S., will become president of the adult care sector.

* W. Dudley Lehman, president of the child care sector, will become president of the infant care sector.

* Steven Kalmanson, president of the adult care sector, will become president of the child care sector.

* Gilbert Zins, president of the service and industrial sector, will become senior vice president of strategic planning.

* David Murray, senior vice president, K-C Canada, will become president of the service and industrial sector.

Announces Earnings

Record third quarter sales and earnings were recently announced by Kimberly-Clark. Sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 were $1.7 billion, an increase of 7.6% over 1990's figure of $1.6 billion. Net earnings also increased, up 2.3% from last year's figure of $123.3 million to $126.1 million.

For the first nine months of 1991, sales increased 6.1% to $5.1 billion, up from 1990's $4.8 billion. Net earnings increased from $320.9 million to $369.6 million, a jump of 15.2%.
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Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Dec 1, 1991
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