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Story of the year: I need you, you need me.

Story Of The Year: I Need You, You Need Me

As unbelievable as it may seem after all the talk of who is and who is not for sale, not one truly major nonwovens industry acquisition was completed (as of press time) during 1991.

No matter how uch activity there was surrounding nonwovens and the environment, no matter how many companies were up for sale or went out of business, no significant single event had a major impact on our industry in the past 12 months. And although the courts have seemingly become a first rather than last resort to solve corporate disputes, legal interruptions did not have the major impact on the nonwovens industry as they have in the past.

There were some compelling single news events that sparked the industry's attention--the unfortunate situation of National Felt...the continuing Scott Nonwoven's sale saga (the most asked question of the year certainly was "who is going to buy Scott?")...the recent availability of Lantor...the semi-secret discussions between INDA and EDANA concerning the scheduling of their IDEA and INDEX exhibitions...the ITMA '91 show in Germany...the EEC Commission ruling allowing Procter & Gamble to "sort of" have joint ventures with Finaf in southern Europe.

But the most important, long range story affecting the nonwovens industry in 1991 was the unprecedented surge of joint venture activity in virtually every part of the nowovens producing world. We have seen former competitors in other industries, such as IBM and Apple in the computer field, join forces to ensure not only their success today but their very existence in the 21st century. In these days of global marketing, just-in-time delivery, quality control and capital demands, it is only natural that companies seek to optimize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses through these joint ventures.

The two arrangements with the greatest impact were marketing agreements between Lantor and Ergon and between Reemay and Exxon; both give each partner a little of what they want in terms of new products or geographic expansion while lessening the risk. The machinery suppliers got into the act, primarily at ITMA but even there the benefits will continue to be felt for some time; the Dilo-Autefa-Spinnbau-Temafa arrangement is a prime example of the whole equalling more than the sum of the parts. A host of joint ventures in the Far East, the largest of which is Fiberweb's Asian marriage to Mitsui Petrochemical, has taken the concept well beyond national and cultural borders.

These nonwovens companies have found that they need each other. In a year in which even INDA and EDANA were able to put aside their differences for the common good, it is only natural that the new spirit of mutual cooperation be the nonwovens industry's story of the year for 1991.
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Title Annotation:joint ventures in the nonwovens industry
Author:Jacobsen, Michael A.
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Previous Article:Underpad that stays put.
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