Czech PFNonwovens Holding, the third largest global producer of nonwovens, is preparing a massive offensive in Africa. By the end of next year, it plans to invest approximately 900 million crowns in its South African plant, which will roughly triple its production capacity.
The new production line, which is to increase production from 8,000 to 23,000 tons per year at the Cape Town plant, is intended to strengthen PFNonwovens’ position on the African continent while providing a base for exports to neighboring regions such as the Middle East. The company responds to the increased demand and occupancy of current production capacities with investments, especially in the area of medical needs. The entire holding company has so far produced approximately 215,000 tons of nonwovens in one year.
The company will also increase the number of employees at the South African plant. At the end of last year, over a thousand people worked there, and now their number is expected to increase by another 40 thanks to the investment.
The Association of the Textile-Clothing-Leather Industry considers the expansion to be logical. According to its executive director Jiří Česal, nonwovens can be considered a promising segment, especially in the field of healthcare and hygiene. “For products for these markets, the pandemic has clearly revealed supply shortages. Medical and social facilities as well as individuals had problems accessing the goods. For nonwoven manufacturers, this means room for further growth, ”says Česal, adding that this trend does not have to be just a one-off swing.
PFNowovens is therefore already considering further investments. “For example, expanding the capacity of an existing plant on the east coast of the United States or building a brand new plant in the same region is at stake,” said Michal Šlemr, a member of the board of directors of the family investment firm R2G, which PFNonwovens Holding owns.
This spring, the holding withdrew its European share from the Prague Stock Exchange when it bought the remaining units of a percentage of shares previously owned by minorities. They subsequently decided to sue the management of the holding because the set price for the shares came low.
PFNonwovens Holding is the third largest producer of nonwovens in the world after Berry Global and Fitesa. Based on polypropylene and polyethylene, it manufactures products for hygiene, industry, construction, agriculture, healthcare and other sectors. The company has manufacturing facilities in four countries – in the Czech Republic, Egypt, South Africa and the United States. The company has not yet published last year’s results. In 2019, however, it earned 12.6 billion crowns, thanks to which it earned 160 million.
Since 2017, PFNonwovens has been the majority shareholder of PFNonwovens Holding, which is owned by the R2G fund of billionaires Oldřich Šlemr, Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudyš.