12 July 2011
Interim Trading Update
Fiberweb plc, a leading international industrial fabrics producer, is today publishing a trading update, ahead of interim results for the six-month period ending 30 June 2011, which are expected to be announced in early August.
Fiberweb has seen reasonable trading in the first half with total revenues up more than 10%. We have seen strong volumes in our polypropylene spunbond hygiene business in Europe and through the FitesaFiberweb JV in the Americas, while trading volumes in the Airlaid business in Asia are below first half last year as a result of volume weakness from a major customer and previously highlighted delays in filling Line 2. In Industrial, filtration and European construction have seen strong volumes, while the US construction market has remained extremely challenging.
A sharp increase in raw material prices in the first half of 2011, coupled with contractual lag in hygiene pass-through and the normal lead-time for industrial price increases has caused some pressure on margins in the first half, with a net impact of more than £6 million. This has been partially mitigated through volume growth and further improvement in operational efficiencies and in mix. The raw materials impact is expected to be more than fully recovered in the second half as a consequence of contractual price increases in hygiene, the impact of several price increases already implemented in industrial sectors and cost control. Helpfully, raw material price pressure has ameliorated significantly in recent weeks and the opportunity has been taken to increase our polypropylene hedging positions during the recent period of price weakness. Polypropylene volumes for the European Industrial business are now largely hedged in the second half.
The acquisitions of Boddingtons and Tubex were successfully completed in the first half. The integration of both businesses is progressing well and is on-track to deliver at least expected annualised cost synergies of more than £1.5 million. We continue to review and assess possible complementary bolt-on acquisition opportunities, particularly in relation to our industrial business.
A maiden dividend of £1.1 million was received from FitesaFiberweb in the first half. After major capital expenditure on new manufacturing assets and a new R&D facility for the industrial business as well as restructuring spend associated with post-acquisition integration, net debt is in-line with expectations.
With the benefit of falling raw material prices and cost reductions, including the closure of sites in the UK and Germany, the Group's performance for the year is anticipated to be in-line with management's expectations.
For further information please contact:
020 8090 6240
Daniel Dayan, Chief Executive
Daniel Abrams, Chief Financial Officer
Weber Shandwick Financial
0207 067 0700
Notes to Editors
Fiberweb plc is a leading international manufacturer of speciality industrial fabrics, with 1,850 employees operating in seven countries across Europe, North America and Asia. The Group comprises businesses supplying tailored solutions to Industrial and Hygiene nonwovens markets.
The Industrial businesses focus on growing niche markets in filtration, speciality construction and agriculture, with technologically differentiated products and strong brands.
The Hygiene businesses focus on supplying leading producers of diapers, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products with value-added and reliable nonwoven components. The Hygiene division is made up of Consumer Fabrics which supplies a full range of hygiene products from its spunbond and carded production technologies and Airlaid, which provides products principally for feminine care applications.