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Reemay, Inc.

Reemay, Inc. P.O. Box 511 Old Hickory, TN 37138 (615)847-7000; Fax (615)847-7068 Worldwide Nonwovens Sales: $175 million U.S. Nonwovens Sales: $130 million Key Personnel: Migo Nalbantyan, vice president-sales, marketing and operations; Thomas Phillips, vice president-finance and systems; Ken Pearce, marketing director; Dr. Ronald Smorada, international business director Plant: Old Hickory, TN; warehousing and distribution throughout Europe; distribution worldwide Processes: Spunbonded (polypropylene, polyester); Needlepunched Trade Names: Reemay, Typar, Tekton, Typelle, Biobarrier Major Markets: Primary Carpet Backing, Furniture and Bedding Construction, Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets, Apparel Interlinings, Filtration, Automotive Seat Construction, Agricultural Crop Covers and Tobacco Seedbed Covers, Landscape Fabrics, Geotextiles, Infiltration Barriers, Aerospace, Home Furnishings, Construction, Tags and Labels, Flexible/Specialty Packaging, Material Handling Products, Electrical, Root Control Systems Notes: Two years ago Reemay was "the quiet company" in the nonwovens industry. Last year the "new kid on the block" had grown up. This year Reemay emerges even further, spreading its wings beyond the domestic nonwovens industry to become a global contender in a global market. For a producer that is still inclined to view itself as a "quiet" company, Reemay is much, much too busy to maintain a low profile.

With its distribution and warehousing network in place throughout Europe, the company, which is an affiliate of BBA Group PLC, has come a long way towards realizing its goal of having one-third of its revenues come from overseas sales. With distribution headquarters in Culemborg, Holland, a second facility in Antwerp, Belgium and warehousing in 24 countries throughout Europe, the company is on its way to establishing itself as a worldwide, rather than merely domestic, presence in the nonwovens industry.

This international flavor was evident by Reemay's participation in the Techtextil show in Frankfurt, Germany last May. The company's booth was four times as large as the display for its first appearance at Techtextil two years ago. "We were just starting to think about a global strategy then," explained marketing director Ken Pearce. "Now we can put our products in place in any country and we are completely committed to the European business."

Vice president Migo Nalbantyan concurred. "The bottom line is that in the last four and a half years we have stated our objective of achieving one-third of sales from overseas. This year we achieved in the mid-20% range." This is an increase from 1989's figure of 18-20%. Reemay has also put into place systems uniquely designed for overseas customers that focus on quick response time

The company has also been extremely successful in Japanese markets. "We are doing all the common sense things that are easy to do in this market without actually being there," said Mr. Nalbantyan. "We think the future holds intriguing partnerships with companies that fit with our plans."

An example of just this type of complementary global partnership is the marketing joint venture with Exxon Chemical, Houston, TX, which took effect March 1. Under terms of the agreement, Exxon is responsible for the worldwide marketing of geotextiles produced by Reemay. Exxon will market the products under the "Typar" name in the Americas and under "Terram" or "Tekton" in Europe and the Pacific.

Mr. Nalbantyan told NONWOVENS INDUSTRY that this is a prime example of what the company is trying to do--using Exxon's excellent marketing channels outside of the U.S. Mr. Nalbantyan reminded that Reemay also introduced its "Biobarrier" herbicide product two years ago through a partnership with DowElanco.

The number 10 company exports to three major geographic areas--Canada, Europe and the Far East, mainly Japan--although product is also shipped to the Mid East, Africa and South America. Its European business is its largest export market, with Canada second and the Far East third.

Ignoring The Recession

While it continues to concentrate on markets both across the seas and at home, Reemay appears unaffected by troubled economic times. The story goes that one Reemay employee at a recent marketing meeting brashly told his colleagues that "we refuse to participate in the recession." Mr. Nalbantyan wholeheartedly echoes the sentiment. "Our company is quite different in that we are involved in at least 20 totally unrelated businesses, making us almost recession proof," he said. Mr. Nalbantyan reported that 30-35% of revenues were from businesses established in the last three to five years. He emphasized the roles played by the company's four current concentrations: can separator pads, house wrap, fabric softener substrates and its recent thrust into exports.

On the home front, Reemay added a new converting line last March to its Old Hickory, TN facility, adding bonding, laminating, embossing, slitting and coating to its range of production capabilities. The equipment can handle up to four webs simultaneously and will eventually be able to convert up to six webs with different fiber and bonding structures. It will give Reemay an advantage in meeting increasing customer demand for value added products.

Reemay continues to plan capital investments every year at its Old Hickory plant, which remains its only manufacturing facility. "Our philosophy is never to run to capacity," said Mr. Nalbantyan," and we are continuously improving our existing capabilities." He said this usually comes in the form of upgrades and work on improving product yield and quality, which gets them further than capital expansions.

Reemay is also taking a different tack in increasing its profitability by distributing products for other companies. By doing this, Mr. Nalbantyan said, "we can capture more customers by providing them what they want."

One example of this is a recent agreement signed with Fabrene, a Mississauga, Ontario, Canada company that manufactures "Perfil" concrete reinforcement. Under terms of the agreement, Reemay does some converting and has worldwide distribution rights (excluding Canada) for the product, which creates a reinforcing network for concrete, providing crack control both during and after curing.

The Perfil product as well as Reemay's "Tekton" house wrap are included in a manufacturer specification catalog being distributed to reconstruction personnel in Kuwait. The catalog provides literature to engineers, architects, designers and contractors.

Some of the new products produced by Reemay itself run on the unusual side as well. One of the most unique is "Reemlar," a product that is used to produce a top quality drum head by a California company called Remo. "We've broken into the music business," said Mr. Nalbantyan jokingly.

With music conquered, art was the next to go, as Reemay had a special painting on display at Techtextil. The picture, an acrylic done by a French Canadian artist Clement Pelletier, was done on Reemay 2470 canvas and provided a unique flabor to the company's exhibit.

Reemay has also recently expanded its filtration product line, developing new products suitable for applications that include coolant filtration, industrial cartridge filtration, food/beverage and pharmaceutical filtration and other high technology end uses.

A new low-fuzz polypropylene product, "Tekton LF," is designed for filtration

applications where surface finish is extremely important. Other new polypropylene products currently being researched are a number of low denier, lightweight products.

"Our basic thrust is to provide to the market what no one else can," said Mr. Nalbantyan. One area where the company is doing this is in flexible packaging, where it has designed a recyclable courier envelope. The Tekton envelope is on coated stock, making the printing on it much clearer; it is not resealable, which makes it tamper proof; and it can be colored inside and out. The BBA Group's annual report was sent in the special envelopes this year.

The company is also working on a consumer product for the agricultural area as an extension of its landscape fabric. The marketing is directed from Reemay's regional distribution centers to retail outlets. There has also been a significant change in the distribution placement of the company's landscape fabrics, international sales representative Carol Baugh said. "We're hitting hard in national chains now, really focusing on establishing a base to work from for our new product," she said.

Its "Typelle" needlepunched products are also commercially available and can be custom made from polyester or polypropylene, in white or colors. The company stressed that this is a specialty, rather than commodity, product.

Overall, Reemay continues to develop new niches without losing sight of its core businesses of primary carpet backings, interlinings, geotextiles and filtration. "We believe we can go in and revitalize our core businesses because of our diversity," Mr. Pearce said. A business philosophy at the company, according to Mr. Nalbantyan, has been, "Don't pursue a technology without specific end uses. We don't expend energy without knowing where it's going," he said.

"Our business plan for the next several years centers around one basic theme--have maximum flexibility to respond," Mr. Nalbantyan concluded. "This is achieved through attitude more than anything else and I would like to salute our people." He said the company has seen significant changes in the past five years and the enthusiasm and devotion to continuous improvement by Reemay employees is amazing. As the company moves further along its profitable path, the future certainly looks bright for the quiet company.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Rodman Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:nonwoven fabrics business
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:company profile
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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Next Article:Scott Nonwovens.

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