One of the biggest synthetic fibre manufacturers in the world is Akzo Nobel of the Netherlands. Akzo Nobel plans to split off its fibres business, Acordis, in the second half of 1999. Created as a result of Akzo Nobel's takeover of Courtaulds last year, Acordis has sales of around $12bn and starting operating as a separate business under Akzo Nobel from 1 January 1999. It claims it is the world's largest dedicated fibres production company.
Acordis employs around 19 000 people worldwide and has its headquarters in Derby, UK. 'The Courtaulds and Akzo products are different, but do form a comprehensive range,' Acordis maintains. The main thrust of the integration is in aligning management and organisational styles.
The group has production facilities in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the US, Brazil, Italy, Spain and Poland, where it makes synthetic fibres and speciality materials for industrial, textile, medical and hygiene applications.
It has been in loss since the onset of the economic crisis in Asia.
'Our proposals are designed to restore Tencel's profitability while retaining the flexibility to increase rapidly as demand rises,' the company says. Central to this is the flexibility of the new Grimsby plant, which is equipped to produce a new Tencel variant, A100. A100 has surface characteristics which open up a much wider range of end uses. Initial market reaction has been extremely positive. The A100 capability can be retrofitted to the Mobile operation as demand increases.
David Wilkinson, Acordis Director responsible for Tencel, comments: 'Tencel was the first new textile fibre for 30 years when it was launched in 1992, and introduced radically new standards of aesthetics. Until the Asian crisis, demand frequently exceeded our ability to supply. This is a temporary setback. We remain convinced that, the current situation notwithstanding, Tencel is a fibre of exceptional market potential