Mobile - The Lenzing Group is to open a new Tencel fibre plant in the US, a move that should contribute significantly to the company's plans to increase the share of specialty fibres as a percentage of revenue to 50 per cent by 2020.
Lenzing recently announced expansion plans for its sites in Heiligenkreuz (Austria) and Grimsby (Great Britain). However, the new facility in Mobile, Alabama will be the largest Tencel fibre plant in the world with a capacity of 90,000 tons of the lyocell fibre per year.
The total investment costs is expected to be around US$293 million with the plant expected to be on-stream by the first quarter of 2019.
The Lenzing Group currently has a worldwide production capacity of 222,000 tons per year of Tencel fibres. The new plant in Mobile plus the already announced projects at the other Tencel fibre sites will increase the total capacity by more than 50 per cent by 2019.
According to Stefan Doboczky, CEO, Lenzing, the decision to build the plant in the US was supported by the good infrastructure at the Mobile site and attractive energy costs. “This investment represents another major milestone in the implementation of our corporate strategy sCore TEN," he said. "It will bring us a big step further to reach our target of 50 per cent revenue from specialty fibers by 2020.
“This expansion also underscores our commitment to all our Tencel fibre customers, who continue to make their products even more sustainable using the world’s most sustainable botanic fibre."
Elsewhere, Lenzing has also created a new Management Board role, pooling together the key technical, operational and engineering responsibilities. The Supervisory Board has therefore appointed Heiko Arnold as the new Chief Technology Officer. In addition to a strong scientific and technical education, Arnold has gained many years of experience with BASF in the realization of major investment projects and continuous operational improvements as well as extensive know-how in Research & Development. He will be responsible for all technical departments in the Lenzing Group.