Vast potential for growth in nonwovens consumption in the Middle East and North Africa
The potential for growth in nonwovens consumption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is vast, according to a report in the latest issue of Technical Textile Markets from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence
Such potential for growth is being driven by consumption of nonwovens for use in the manufacture of absorbent hygiene products (AHPs). The MENA region is home to 325 mn people and has an annual birth rate of 6.8 mn infants.
Furthermore, the baby diaper market penetration rate averages just 25 %, and is as low as 10 % in poorer countries such as Iraq and Egypt.
Reflecting this, Procter & Gamble and Unicharm — two leading producers of diapers — have established major operations for manufacturing AHPs in Egypt. Procter & Gamble has been producing diapers at a new plant in October 6 City, Egypt, since mid-2011 while Unicharm opened a plant to produce AHPs in the Al Tajamouat Industrial Park in 10th of Ramadan City in 2012.
Unicharm had already established a joint venture in the Middle East — called Unicharm Gulf Hygienic Industries — with the Al Murjan Group. However, there was still an order backlog as diaper production in the region was not sufficient to meet increasing demand.
The two companies have been followed into Egypt by a number of suppliers of diaper components, including Pegas Nonwovens and RKW Group.
In the wider MENA region, there are opportunities for filter media manufacturers and converters — particularly those dealing in advanced meltblown nonwoven products, since these materials are highly in demand and there is virtually no capacity in place in the MENA region for their production.