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The Lenzing: Group Leading Fiber Innovation

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The Lenzing Group is an international group of companies. The Lenzing headquarters in Austria coordinate their production sites in all major markets and their global network of sales and marketing offices. Lenzing provides the global textile and nonwovens industry with high-quality cellulose fibers. They are the leading supplier in many business-to-business markets – from special cellulose fibers to high-tech plastics polymers.

Seventy years of fiber production expertise make them the only producer world-wide of all three man-made cellulose fiber generations, from classic viscose to lyocell and modal. Lenzing's unique combination of consistent customer orientation with leadership in quality, innovation and technology is the foundation of their success. Lenzing's core business fibers is complemented by their activities in business fields plastics as well as engineering.

Engineers, construction workers and technicians will increasingly leave their imprint on business operations at Lenzing Group’s fiber plants in the upcoming months and years due to its massive expansion of production capacities. “As the global market leader, we are implementing a far-reaching capacity expansion program in response to the continuing growth in demand for cellulose fibers. We want to more effectively safeguard our market position in terms of both quality and quantity,” says Lenzing CEO Peter Untersperger. Accordingly, the Lenzing Group will invest about EUR 200 mill. alone for expansion, remodeling and debottlenecking measures at its existing facilities in Europe and Asia by the turn of the year 2011/2012. “This program will enable us to raise annual fiber production capacity of the Lenzing Group in the initial phase from 570,000 to 770,000 tons and thus deterProdukminedly continue our growth path,” Peter Untersperger adds. If one includes all the projects currently being implemented by the Lenzing Group (Biocel Paskov pulp plant) or for which concrete plans exist (new facility in India), the total investment volume would increase to the impressive level of about EUR 600 mill. during the period 2008 to approx. 2014. “Our next goal is to achieve a production capacity for cellulose fibers of 1 mill. tons, with a preferably high level of self supply for pulp considerably exceeding more than half of the required volume,” Untersperger says. Lenzing hopes to reach this ambitious target by the middle of the decade. “Demand for Lenzing fibers is enormous. Our response was to already begin construction of a new, fourth production line at our Indonesian subsidiary PT. South Pacific Viscose (SPV),” says Friedrich Weninger, Lenzing’s Management Board member responsible for the fiber business. In two years of building, SPV invested about USD 150 mill. to increase fiber production capacity from 160,000 to 220,000 tons per year.

“However, we expect demand to continue exceeding capacity at the plant. Therefore, we will begin with debottlenecking production right after start-up in order to increase SPV capacity to 238,000 tons annually,” Weninger adds. Therefore capacity at the Chinese fiber facility in Nanjing is also being quickly doubled. “The expansion efforts aimed at increasing production to 140,000 tons p.a. are our response to the ongoing rise in demand for standard cellulose fibers in Asia,” Weninger states. Investments will total about EUR 55 mill. during the scheduled 18 months of construction.

High demand for specialty fibers

Demand is not only strong for standard viscose fibers. Lenzing’s specialty fibers Lenzing Modal® and TEN CEL® are enjoying growing popularity, leading Lenzing to massively invest in expanding production at its specialty fiber sites. “The market has fully recognized the outstanding features of our specialty fibers. Thus we are sending a message to our customers that we want to jointly shape the fiber future,” Weninger says. In Lenzing, the world’s largest facility for special cellulose fibers, production will focus even more on specialty fibers in the future. An existing fiber production line will be successively converted from standard viscose fibers to Modal fibers at a cost of EUR 23 mill. over a period of 15 months. In addition, pulp production at the Lenzing facility will be increased to 260,000 tons annually.

Expansion of the TENCEL® site in Heiligenkreuz

The TEN CEL® sites are also being upgraded. Fiber production at the plant in Heiligenkreuz (Burgenland/Austria) will be raised from 10,000 to 60,000 tons p.a. by the end of 2010. The English TEN CEL® facility in Grimsby will be remodeled to produce the TEN CEL® specialty fiber AF -100 featuring lower fibrillation. Thus in the future Lenzing will be able to offer a complete range of TEN CEL® fibers in sufficient quantities, boasting an optimal fibrillation level in each case. “Our TEN CEL® fiber is a success story in itself. TEN CEL® is being increasingly used, particularly in high-quality lingerie and home textiles. Exports to Asia and Europe are continually rising,” says Weninger, the Management Board member for fibers.

“With this expansion program we are determinedly continuing our growth path.” -Peter Untersperger

Moreover, Lenzing is already working on new projects, including a new viscose fiber production site in India, where land is being purchased and detailed planning is just starting. India is an increasingly important sales market for Lenzing fibers, which is only being covered by one provider at present. “An additional production facility is necessary to offer a secure long-term supply to our customers in India,” says CEO Untersperger. If everything proceeds according to plan, the project could be implemented in 2–3 years, comprising a further milestone in the growth story of the Lenzing Group.

Joining hands with Nice-Pak and Costco

The cooperation with Nice-Pak and Costco is important for this business area for several reasons, says Wolfgang Plasser, Vice President of the Business Unit Nonwovens. “This is the first time a retailer has focused on the TEN CEL® brand for a nonwoven product and we are especially proud that the retailer is Costco, one of the largest US retailers. In addition, the inclusion of an in-pack leaflet allows us to inform end consumers about the benefits of TEN CEL®. In reading the package insert, people find out more about the future of baby care based on TEN CEL® and also the environmentally responsible features of TEN CEL®. This is particularly gratifying, as the Kirkland Signature™ Baby Wipes is the top-selling product in its category on the American market,” Wolfgang Plasser concludes. Kirkland Signature™ Baby Wipes pamper a baby’s delicate skin, and they go easy on the environment. Consumers get a top-notch product at an economical price, as it is the store’s own brand. Costco’s change to TEN CEL® is clearly supported by sales figures: April 2010 turned out to be the strongest month for Kirkland Signature™ Baby Wipes since the introduction of the new fiber blend. The Kirkland Signature™ Baby Wipes are becoming a real success story for Lenzing’s Business Unit Nonwovens and Lenzing expects this will lead to more consumer demand for other nonwoven products made from TEN CEL®.

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