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More grist for the mill.

More Grist For The Mill

If there was any doubt before, then the last few months have put to rest any misunderstandings or ignorance. We're talking about the globalization of the nonwovens industry and the impact of 1992 on the business of doing business in nonwovens. The already well-reported and analyzed acquisition fever that caught the U.S. and European nonwovens companies since the first of the year has changed the face of the industry forever and there is much more to come-Corovin, among the earliest nonwovens companies available to the highest bidder, hasn't even revealed whether or not it has found a buyer for its $45 million a year roll goods business.

Last month I had the pleasure of speaking during an INDA-TEC '90 panel that could have been dubbed "Editors as Experts," despite the fact that there was one interloper on the panel who actually buys and sells nonwoven fabrics. The opening morning session, featuring myself, Lydia Cain of Nonwovens Markets and Derek Ward of Nonwovens Report International (U.K.), along with Thomas Dunn (he was the informed outsider speaking on the Far East nonwovens industry), was designed to offer the 300 attendees an editor's eye view of the radical changes sweeping our business from Windsor Locks to Prague to Brussels to Shanghai.

With an overabundance of grist for the mill, we were able to illustrate the task we face in keeping up with the news that sometimes just appears on our desks but more often than not must be ferreted out and dissected from a variety of sources. It used to be we could contact Procter & Gamble in its 513 area code, or call our DuPont source in Wilmington or the Freudenberg president in North Carolina to find out the details. Now any story on those companies means calls and faxes and sometimes visits to Frankfurt, Geneva, Luxembourg, Weinheim and Kaiserslautern. Our annual Top Companies feature this September is taking on a radically different look, as we will no longer rank and profile operations of the same company according to national sales, such as Freudenberg and Hoechst. This year there will be one, big, happy ranking of all European, U.S. and Japanese nonwovens producers according to their worldwide nonwovens roll goods sales. It is the only possible, logical way to do it any longer.

All of this relates to the incredible vitality and mobility forming the undercurrent of our business, an industry some have called mature. Perhaps some of its markets are growing a little gray and many of the moves made by Freudenberg, Dexter Nonwovens, Veratec, Dominion Textile and the rest reflect their need to position themselves as worldwide companies in a global market. For sure, the huge expenses most of the leaders are incurring in research and development demand the expanded markets only a worldwide business can offer.

What we are saying, and the message we strove to share at INDA-TEC '90, is that the changes impacting on the business today are setting the pace for our business tomorrow ... and that business will hardly be mature. Instead, it will be vital, active and constantly changing. At least we hope so ... that's why people keep reading trade magazines.
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Title Annotation:globalization of the nonwoven fabrics industry
Author:Jacobsen, Michael A.
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Previous Article:Associations.
Next Article:The process of comparing nonwovens.

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