Interview with Dr. Carsten Voigtlander CEO of Oerlikon Textile

The Middle East is a real growth area

Interview with Dr. Carsten Voigtlander CEO of Oerlikon Textile

In preparing this interview, Kohan Journal (Middle East Textile Journal) spoke with CEO of OERLIKON Textile to get his prospective on the state of textile machinery and market. Dr. Carsten Voigtlander explains what can be expected from the textile market leader in 2008‎‏.‏

Kohan Journal: Dr. Voigtlander, the Oerlikon Group recently presented itsaccounts for 2007. Your Oerlikon Textile segment had outstanding figures. Will the figures for 2008 be similar‏?
‏First of all, I’d like to say how delighted we are to have posted record results. Our sales increased by 27 % to more than 2.7 billion Swiss francs (CHF) and earnings (EBIT) tripled to CHF 208 million. This is further evidence that we have achieved our most important goals, i.e. the restructuring of the former Saurer Company and the positioning of Oerlikon as the new corporate umbrella brand as well as the world market and innovation leader in the textile sector. We are, therefore, on the right path – and will continue to pursue it despite the somewhat different market situation in 2008‎‏.

‏Kohan Journal: What developments do you expect and how will you meet the challenges‎‏?
‏According to forecasts, the world fibre market will increase steadily up to 2010 to approximately 85 million tonnes. However, for fiscal year 2008 we expect the markets in Asia to quieten down. In particular, the staple fibre market will be unable to repeat the excellent results of 2007. We will be able to compensate for this change partially by gaining market share but also by developing new markets and areas of business‏.

‏Kohan Journal: Which markets are you targeting‎‏?
‏The main driver for our long-term growth in profits will remain Asia, particularly India and China. In China, for example, we have had a presence for more than 15 years and are today the largest international manufacturer of textile machinery and plant in all market segments of staple fibre processing, filament manufacture and nonwovens manufacture. Around 2500 employees produce machinery there for the local market. We now achieve a major part of our total sales in China. For this reason, we are expanding the production area of our state-of-the-art production plant in Suzhou by more than 30,000 m² to over 100,000 m². The Middle East is also becoming a real growth region for textiles. One of our current projects entails assuming the lead role in the planning, fitting out and engineering of a large installation in the United Arab Emirates. One of the biggest spinning mills in the entire Gulf region for the production of high-quality cotton yarn is currently under construction this year in the Emirate of Fujairah and has an annual capacity of 10,000 tonnes. We were awarded the contract because we are able to demonstrate all our strengths in this project, i.e. high-productivity machinery and innovative total solution concepts‎‏.

Kohan Journal: Are these strengths ones that your competitors don’t possess‎‏?
‏With our five brands which we presented under the Oerlikon Group umbrella for the first time at ITMA 2007, we offer solutions along the entire textile value-added chain. Oerlikon Barmag, Oerlikon Neumag, Oerlikon Saurer, Oerlikon Schlafhorst, and the new business unit Oerlikon Textile Components have wide-ranging competence in the fields of nonwovens, manmade fibres, natural fibres, twisting/embroidery and components. We are the number one player in almost all our markets. In 2007, we were particularly innovative and we want to ensure we remain so in the future‎‏.

‏Kohan Journal : What innovations are we likely to see‏?
‏I’d like to give you just one current example. One of our customers has commissioned the first nonwovens plant in the world that integrates within one manufacturing process on a production width of 4 metres three different web forming processes: a bi-component spunbond bar, an airlaid fibre forming system as well as a carding machine.  This combination of the three core technologies of spunbond, airlaid and carding represents the beginning of future production of nonwovens. We are breaking new technological ground with these developments and we intend to continue to do so‏.

‏Kohan Journal: Are you bringing new developments with you to ITMA Asia 2008‎‏?
‏We have an exhibition area of 1500 m2 on which we plan to demonstrate our technological superiority, e.g. with our i-QOON double winder which now also enables 24-fold spinning of fully drawn yarn. We will also be bringing with us our new success products from ITMA 2007, e.g. the Autoconer 5 automatic package winding machine, the Sytec One system for producing BCF carpet yarns and the new WINGS (Winding Integrated Godet Solution) POY spinning concept. All these production systems raise the bar when it comes to productivity, quality, efficiency and availability. And our latest sales figures demonstrate how appreciative our customers are of our technological competence‏

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Renato Gerletti