Selected Important News of the past weeks (Part 1 updated 2:15 PM)

Dear Readers we try to make up for the time of illness of Virgini F. Bodmer-Altura, and Textile-Future will provide you with a series of important News in alphabetical order. We hope that this will allow you to keep up-to-date on all News that happened during the abdsence of your publisher.


An effective Pact for Skills should be an essential pillar of the new EU Textiles Strategy

EURATEX President, Alberto Paccanelli addressed European Commissioners Thierry Breton and Nicolas Schmit during a High Level Roundtable on Skills for the Textiles, Clothing, Leather and Footwear (TCLF) sectors. In his remarks, Mr Paccanelli insisted that addressing the skills challenges will be an essential condition to make a successful transition of our industry. These challenges relate to the ageing workforce and difficulties to attract young talents, and the need for new skills – related to digitalisation and sustainable production. He asked support to the European Commission to increase already existing up/reskilling activities, and in attracting younger generations to work in the sector.

The European Textile and Clothing industries stand out on the global market with their quality and heritage, high-end goods, but also innovation of production processes and products. In recent years, digitalisation, sustainability and other trends emerged, requiring new skills to be developed and integrated in the companies. The sector also suffers from an ageing workforce – 35% of current workers in the textile and clothing industry are over 50 years old –, decreasing number of younger employees and lack of attractiveness. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated these trends and created new challenges.

These issues were presented yesterday to European Commissioners Nicolas Schmit and Thierry Breton during the “Pact for Skills roundtable”. Several representatives from the industry and related stakeholders 1explained that these trends not only affect the workforce of EU companies, but more broadly  the competitiveness of the industry.  A “Pact for Skills” can offer the right framework for developing a new framework, if well designed and implemented.

A recent TCLF survey among 150 companies, launched by EURATEX, CEC and COTANCE, confirmed these challenges:

•            Only 57 % of respondents implement currently up/reskilling activities to meet digital skills needs, 85 % foresee them as important or very important in the next 5 years.

•            1 in 3 companies implements up/reskilling activities to meet green skills needs, and around 60 % see them as very important in the next 5 years.

•            Up/reskilling activities, focused on process and production skills characteristic for the textile and clothing industries, will remain important in the future. 9 out of 10 companies foresee needs for this type of skills in coming years.

•            Up/reskilling initiatives in companies are constricted by time and financial constraints, as well as lack of knowledge about existing offer. That’s why only 15% of companies admitted that they often or always use external financial support in up/reskilling. Collaboration structures between education stakeholders and policy makers – on national and regional levels – are considered ineffective.

The Pact for Skills initiative can then be the solution to these problems, but it needs to deliver concrete answers. EURATEX President highlighted some actions which should be part of the Pact for Skills:

•            Support SMEs in their digital transformation with financial aid or programmes. In the survey, companies stated that direct funding is the only way to meet this transformation.

•            Improve the skillsets of existing workforce, by supporting companies in their efforts to upskill and reskill their workforce through training, apprenticeship and mentorship programmes.

•            Minimise skills gaps and mismatches in the areas of sustainability, digitalization, process innovation and new business models.

•            Attract well-qualified young workers and professionals.

•            Supporting the modernization of the sectors’ VET and training infrastructure through improved education-industry collaboration.

At the same time, European T&C companies are willing to engage and develop the Pact for Skills initiative. With the necessary support, they can commit to:

•            increase diversity at the leadership level to become more inclusive and dynamic;

•            foster closer cross-sector collaborations, as for example in Digital Innovation Hubs;

•            create new collaborations with education and policy stakeholders;

•            plan to make greater use of the possibilities offered by Erasmus+ Programme.

“The Pact for Skills initiative can be the driver for change in a sector which is going through a substantial transformation” commented Alberto Paccanelli. “But it should be implemented quickly, offer tangible results, and be part of the wider EU Textiles Strategy. EURATEX is ready to support the European Commission in running the process and connect all the different actors”.

As the voice of the European textile and clothing industry, EURATEX works to achieve a favourable environment within the European Union for design, development, manufacture and marketing of textile and clothing products.

The EU textile and clothing industry, with around 160000 companies employing 1.5 million workers, is an essential pillar of the local economy across many EU regions. With over EUR 61 billion of exports, the industry is a global player successfully commercialising high added value products on growing markets around the world.

Working together with EU institutions and other European and international stakeholders, EURATEX focuses on clear priorities: an ambitious industrial policy, effective research, innovation and skills development, free and fair trade, and sustainable supply chains.


BASF invests in biotechnology start-up Bota Bio

  • Bota Bio’s next-generation industrial biology platform is a combination of computation and cutting-edge biotechnology
  • Interdisciplinary  team programs biological systems for clean and efficient bio-manufacturing.

BASF Venture Capital (BVC) has invested in Bota Biosciences, Ltd. (Bota Bio), an industrial synthetic biotech company based in Hangzhou, China. Bota Bio, founded in 2019, is developing a proprietary next-generation biotechnology platform which enables sustainable and economical production of high value products for a broad array of industrial applications. Examples are sweeteners, vitamins, personal care or crop protection products.

Industrial biotechnology or “white biotechnology”, uses living cells and enzymes to develop and manufacture products efficiently. Also, it can upgrade cells, enzymes and processes easily and therefore has the flexibility to adjust its capacity and volume to meet the market demands. Moreover, it expands market opportunities for products not accessible using conventional manufacturing processes. Computation is the core and foundation of Bota Bio’s next-generation bio-foundry to build and evolve enzyme, strain and process pipelines. It quickly identifies and characterizes suitable microbial hosts, shuffles and combines desired phenotypes to create new industrial strains, and furthermore develops and improves manufacturing processes starting from green raw materials, such as sugar.

Joining forces to bring sustainably produced ingredients to market

Bota Bio’s interdisciplinary team – including biologists, chemists, engineers and industry veterans – has a strong track record in successful development and commercialization of products and plans to continue bringing valuable and innovative products to the market. Bota Bio’s innovative fermentation process is scalable making commercial production possible.

BASF itself uses fermentation and biocatalysis to manufacture products such as vitamins and enzymes and is working on processes that use white biotechnology for the production of chemical building blocks from renewable raw materials such as sugar and plant oils. The two strong partners are looking forward to explore possible synergies. “The founding members of Bota Bio have a wealth of experience in the fields of biotechnology and chemistry as well as in starting companies,” said Markus Solibieda, BVC’s Managing Director. He added: “Bota Bio’s highly innovative platform enables the acceleration of product development and contributes to sustainable and economical production. It has the potential to shape progress for the future of the chemical industry. With our investment in this promising young company, we are strengthening BASF’s activities related to sustainability and enhancing the group’s potential for innovation in the dynamic Asian markets.” 

Bota Bio will use this investment to expand its development and production capabilities. “In BASF, we have a strong industry partner by our side whose strengths optimally complement our own. We welcome this support in scaling up our processes and launching new products,” said Cheryl Cui, Ph.D., CEO of Bota Bio.

Bota Bio is an industrial synthetic biotechnology company with a vision to program biological systems for clean and efficient bio-manufacturing of common household and industrial products. Bota Bio is led by experienced multidisciplinary industry veterans who are combining data and automation in order to translate advanced biotechnologies into business value and consumer welfare.

BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC) was founded in 2001 and has offices in Europe, the U.S., China, India, Brazil, and Israel. The aim of BVC is to generate new growth potential for BASF by investing in new companies and funds. The focus of investment is on chemical products and new materials, software and services as well as innovative and digital business models in the broader field of chemistry.

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 110000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of EUR 59 billion in 2020. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S.


China’s Textile and Apparel Exports totalled USD 46.18 Billion in the First Two Months

According to customs statistics, from January to February, the exports of yarn, fabrics and related products totalled over USD 22.13 billion, surged by 60.8 % year-on-year; in the same period of 2020, the exports of yarn, fabrics and related products totalled more than USD 13.76 billion.

And the exports of apparel and accessories was USD 24.05 billion, up by 50.0 % year-on-year. In the first two months of 2020, the exports of apparel and accessories reached more than USD 16.03 billion.

While China imported USD 2.08 billion worth of yarn, fabrics and related products in the first two months of 2021, down by 14.6 % year-on-year.

Prosperity Index of China Cotton Textile Industry in January

2021, the first year of the “14th Five-year Plan” period (2021-2025), matters to the process of China’s modernization. In January, several localized epidemics occurred in China, temporarily affecting the production and operation of some enterprises. With the active response, scientific prevention and control of local governments and relevant departments, the economic and social development have seen a stable recovery. In general, the prosperity index of China’s cotton textile industry remains in the expansion range. The prosperity index of China’s cotton textile industry came in at 50.80 in January.

In January, the raw material purchasing index came in at 55.77; the raw material inventory index came in at 53.11; the production index was 48.48, down 2.14 from June; the product sales index came in at 52.72; the product inventory index was 49.67.

The prosperity index of China’s cotton textile industry is based on the weighed calculation of numerous main indicators of about 200 backbone cotton textile enterprises. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.

Several Chinese Provinces Iissued Policies to Promote the Textile Industry

In the first year of the “14th Five-year Plan” period (2021-2025), Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Jiangxi Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Hubei Province, Heilongjiang Province have formulated and issued the policies for the 14th Five-year Plan and long-term goals. Among them, the textile and apparel industry is the cornerstone of China’s economic development. The local governments focus on the transformation and upgrading of the textile and apparel industry, laying a foundation for the manufacturing industry.

Local governments aim to create an advantageous textile industry

Regarding the relevant planning of the textile and garment industry, Tianjin Municipal People’s Government proposed to strengthen the strategic support of the manufacturing industry. Based on the national advanced manufacturing research and development base, Tianjin will accelerate the cultivation of strategic emerging industries, and transform and upgrade traditional advantageous industries like the textile industry. By 2025, Tianjin strives to form 200 billion-level industrial clusters for the light industry, and the textile industry. The added value of manufacturing will account for 25 % of the regional GDP, and the added value of strategic emerging industries will account for 40 % of the added value of industrial enterprises above designated size.

During the “14th Five-year Plan” period, Jiangsu Province, aiming to be a strong manufacturing province, will vigorously promote the construction of high-quality infrastructure and strengthen the system and capacity building of standards metrology, and patents. By implementing large-scale technological transformation, Jiangsu Province will comprehensively promote intelligent manufacturing, and promote the high-end, intelligent, and green development of advantageous traditional industries such as the textile industry.

In 2021-2025, Zhejiang Province will reengineer the manufacturing industry and upgrade the industrial chain. By carrying out the cultivation and upgrading of industrial clusters, Zhejiang Province will create world-class advanced manufacturing clusters, a batch of advantageous manufacturing clusters with more than CNY 100 billion of annual output, and emerging industrial clusters with more than CNY 10 billion of annual output. In addition, Zhejiang Province will also improve the core links such as R&D, design, branding, marketing, settlement, etc., and strengthen the support for resources, technology and equipment, promoting the diversification of the industrial chain and supply chain. The textile industry, as one of the ten iconic industrial chains of Zhejiang Province, will be focused on by the People’s Government of Zhejiang Province, promoting the intelligent transformation of printing and dyeing industry, the differentiation and functionalization of chemical fibres, the high-end green textiles, and the fashionable development of apparel and home textiles. In doing so, Zhejiang Province will build a world-class advanced textile manufacturing cluster.

Hubei Province will implement the strategy of “diversifying product variety, improving quality and cultivating brand” for consumer goods such as textiles, guide the professional development of enterprises and cultivate a number of outstanding small-and medium-sized enterprises.

Shaanxi Province, which is striving to improve the level of the industrial chain and supply chain, will actively promote the technological transformation and the upgrading of the textile industry, so as to realize high-end, intelligent, and green development. Building a “one enterprise supported by one industrial chain” cluster model based on leading enterprises, the enterprise can accurately connect upstream and downstream sources, and meet production, supply and marketing needs. Shaanxi Province will also carry out the “Thousand Enterprises Demonstration & Ten Thousand Enterprises Transformation” action, so as to promote the private economy to move toward the middle and high end of the industrial chain and value chain.

Industry improvement plans in various regions benefit the textile industry

Various provinces of China have focused on the advancement of traditional industrial foundations and the modernization of industrial chains. People’s Government of Beijing proposes to promote the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, build a high-level subcenter of the capital, and build characteristic towns in an orderly manner, including Zhangjiawan Design Town, Taihu Performing Arts Town, and Songzhuang Art Town.

Shanghai Municipal People’s Government will accelerate the development of six key industries, including advanced materials and fashionable consumer goods, create high-end industrial clusters with international competitiveness, and build characteristic industrial parks. By strengthening the cooperation with the industrial clusters in the Yangtze River Delta, a batch of core components and high-end products will be launched, forming a number of Chinese standards. Digitalization will be the future direction. Therefore, Shanghai Municipal People’s Government will vigorously promote the digital economy, accelerate the building of a digital society and digital government, and make every effort to build a digital industry cluster with international competitiveness.

Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province, where the textile industry is highly concentrated, will also accelerate the development of new material industries. Jiangsu Province will cultivate a number of national-level emerging industrial clusters, and build a number of well-known brands with global influence. Zhejiang Province will focus on key strategic materials such as high-performance fibres and composite materials, biomedical materials, optimize and strengthen advanced basic materials in traditional fields such as chemical industry and textile industry, and develop cutting-edge new materials such as graphene, new-type metal, etc.

In recent years, Jiangxi Province has deeply promoted the strategy of being a strong industrial province, focused on advantageous industries such as equipment manufacturing and new materials, vigorously implemented the “2+6+N” industrial high-quality leap-forward development action, that is, build two trillion-level industries, six 500-billion-level industries, and numerous of 100-billion-level industries. As for the textile and apparel industry, Jiangxi Province has strengthened the down, knitting, women’s wear, children’s wear industries through industrial undertaking, technological transformation, brand enhancement, and industrial chain extension. The province aims to develop technical textiles as well as viscose fibres, cultivate independent brands, and build an important textile industry cluster in China and a “fashion creative center” in the central and western regions of China.

The People’s Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region proposed to promote emerging industries via new materials, and develop and utilize graphite resources in a protective manner. By supporting the research on graphite-related energy storage, electrical conductivity, heat conduction, coatings, etc., the province will expand graphite-related materials, including graphite electrodes, carbon fibres, and construct the Ulanqab Graphite Material Production Base.

Heilongjiang Province is accelerating the development of new material industries such as carbon-based materials represented by graphite, and researches a series of key technologies, actively complying with major national strategies.

Adient announces strategic transformation in China

  • Company enters into agreement with joint venture partner Yanfeng to end its YFAS joint venture
  • Transactions provide Adient opportunity to independently drive its strategy in China
  • After-tax proceeds of ~USD 1.4 billion, combined with existing cash on the balance sheet, are expected to drive significant debt paydown throughout 2021.

Adient (NYSE: ADNT), a global leader in automotive seating, today announced that as part of its strategic transformation in China, it has entered into definitive agreements with joint venture partner Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems Ltd. (YF) to end its Yanfeng Adient Seating Co., Ltd. (YFAS) joint venture in China.

The transactions contemplated by these agreements will, upon closing, allow Adient to drive its strategy in China independently, which is expected to result in a variety of benefits, including capturing growth in profitable and expanding segments; improving the integration of the company’s China operations; and allowing for more certain value realisation relative to status quo, where cash and value are generated from dividends at entities not in Adient’s control.   

“These pending transactions offer Adient an opportunity to drive our China strategy independently and further position the company for future growth in the world’s largest automotive market,” said Doug Del Grosso, president and CEO of Adient. “In addition, proceeds from the transactions will provide immediate value to Adient’s stakeholders.”

Details of the transactions

Under the agreements, Adient will sell its 49.99 % interest in YFAS to YF and its minority interest in certain other joint ventures and will receive ~USD 1.5 billion in cash (~ USD 1.4B after tax) and will acquire YFAS’s 50 % equity interest in Chongqing Yanfeng Adient Automotive Components Co., Ltd. (CQYFAS) and YFAS’s 100% equity interest in Yanfeng Adient (Langfang) Seating Co., Ltd. (YFAS-LF).

Upon acquiring YFAS’s interests in CQYFAS and YFAS-LF, Adient would consolidate those businesses going forward. YF will operate the remainder of YFAS as a wholly owned enterprise.

The transactions, which are subject to customary government and regulatory approvals and certain PRC state-owned asset required approvals and processes, are expected to be completed in the second half of calendar year 2021. Adient will receive ~USD 800 million in cash by closing of the transactions (including dividends) and ~USD 700 million in cash prior to calendar year end, even if closing occurs before such time. All of the foregoing amounts of YFAS transactions proceeds are based on the current USD to RMB exchange rate.

In conjunction with the YFAS transaction, Adient has signed an agreement with Chongqing Boxun Industrial Co., Ltd. (Boxun), its joint venture partner in CQYFAS. The agreement provides Boxun with a put right to sell and, if exercised, requires Adient to buy Boxun’s 25% interest in CQYFAS. The put right, valued at ~ USD 125 million, is contingent upon the closing of the YFAS transaction. After closing, if Adient buys Boxun’s 25 % interest, Adient would own 100% of CQYFAS.

Proceeds from the transactions are expected to be used by Adient to pre-pay a portion of the company’s debt; fund Boxun’s put right, if exercised; and for general corporate purposes.

Remaining a market leader in China

Upon the closing of the various transactions, Adient’s China business is projected to have ~USD 4.5 billion in annual consolidated and unconsolidated sales, with far-reaching customer and geographic coverage through its nine major entities, three state-of-the-art technical centers and more than 800 engineers.

Pro forma Adient

Compared to the company’s FY21 outlook, once the transactions close, global consolidated sales and Adj.-EBITDA are expected to increase annually by between USD 700 -USD 800 million and between USD 90 -USD 100 million, respectively. In addition, Adient’s equity income post-closing is expected to decline annually by ~USD 155 million.  Net income and EPS improvement is forecast post-closing, driven by the expected significant reduction in debt and the corresponding benefit of lower financing costs. 

Evercore and Citigroup acted as financial advisors to Adient and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Fangda Partners acted as legal counsel to Adient in the transactions.

Adient (NYSE: ADNT) is a global leader in automotive seating. With approximately 77,000 employees in 32 countries, Adient operates 202 manufacturing/assembly plants worldwide. We produce and deliver automotive seating for all major OEMs. From complete seating systems to individual components, our expertise spans every step of the automotive seat-making process. Our integrated, in-house skills allow us to take our products from research and design to engineering and manufacturing — and into more than 19 million vehicles every year.

Sateri to Expand Lyocell Production in China

Sateri, the world’s largest producer of viscose fibre, is planning to expand its Lyocell production in China, with total planned annual capacity of up to 500000 tonnes by 2025.

The first phase of this expansion kicked off recently with ground breaking works for a new 100000 tonne facility in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. Another 100,000 tonne facility will be built in Nantong, Jiangsu province later this year. The Changzhou Lyocell facility is expected to commence production in the third quarter of 2022 and will create more than 800 jobs.

Sateri’s first foray into China’s Lyocell market was in May 2020 when its 20000 tonne Lyocell production line in Rizhao, Shandong province commenced production. The same site houses a 5000 tonne Lyocell pilot production line dedicated for the development of Lyocell application technology.

Allen Zhang, President of Sateri, said, “Sateri’s continued investment in Lyocell not only responds to the changing needs of the market and the textile industry but also supports China’s green development plans. It is also very much a part of Sateri’s 2030 Vision commitment to sustainable development where we actively seek to adopt a circular economy model through clean and closed-loop production technology and innovation.”

A natural and biodegradable fibre, Sateri’s Lyocell is made from wood pulp sourced from certified and sustainable plantations. It is manufactured using closed-loop technology, requiring minimal chemical input during the production process, and utilising an organic solvent that can be almost fully recovered and recycled.

In anticipation of strong demand for Lyocell in the coming years, Tom Liu, Sateri’s Vice President and General Manager of Lyocell and Nonwovens Business, said: “Customer-centricity is Sateri’s promise. The new expansion plans will enable us to extend our domestic and international market reach and provide our customers with high quality and comprehensive fibre products. At the same time, we will invest in technology improvement, application development, and brand collaboration to bolster the industry”.

Sateri is the world’s largest producer of viscose fibre, a natural and sustainable raw material found in everyday items like textiles, baby wipes and personal hygiene products. Our range of high quality viscose products is independently verified as safe and responsibly produced.

Our five mills in China collectively produce about 1.5 million tonnes of viscose fibre yearly. We also produce textile yarn, spunlace non-woven fabric and Lyocell fibre.

Headquartered in Shanghai, we have a sales, marketing and customer service network covering Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Sateri is committed to the fundamental principles of sustainable development; our business practices are underpinned by strict adherence to our Sustainability Policy, Pulp Sourcing Policy and universally accepted environmental and social standards.

Sateri is committed to fundamental principles of sustainable development; our business practices are underpinned by strict adherence to our Sustainability Policy, Pulp Sourcing Policy and universally accepted environmental and social standards.


Justin Bieber solidifies Crocs and Socks as Must-Have Fashion Pairing with Second Collaboration

Add the Crocs x Justin Bieber with drew house Classic Clog 2, plus drew house socks, to your collection next week.

Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX), a global leader in innovative casual footwear for women, men and children, and Grammy Award®-winning global superstar Justin Bieber are grabbing the world by the socks, pairing the brand’s Classic Clog with a pair of tall white socks from drew house, Bieber’s personal clothing brand, for a one-of-a-kind fashion statement. Their second product collaboration – the Crocs x Justin Bieber with drew house Classic Clog 2 – features a lavender Classic Clog, a branded logo fixed to the backstrap and special appearances from Theodore and other characters from the drew house community as colourful, oversized Jibbitz™ charms.

The iconic silhouette comes bundled with a pair of drew house-branded socks, making it official that Crocs and socks are, indeed, better together. The addition elevates the partnership with a cozy vibe that represents Bieber’s style and personality. 

“Crocs with socks is definitely the move,” said Justin Bieber. “They’re comfortable, they’re fashionable, and most importantly it’s fun to bring your own style to how you wear them. It’s been a blast bringing this latest collaboration with Crocs to life.”

Justin Bieber recently announced the March 19 release of his sixth studio album, JUSTICE. JUSTICE includes “Holy” feat. Chance The Rapper, “Lonely” feat. Benny Blanco, “Anyone,” and “Hold On,” the four global smash hit singles that have garnered over two billion streams worldwide. With over 75 billion career streams and over 70 million albums sold worldwide, Justin Bieber continues to reign as one of the biggest artists in the world. Bieber is the #1 artist on YouTube with over 60 million subscribers worldwide and broke global records at Spotify with over 65 million monthly listeners.

Dia & Co, The Leading Clothing and Lifestyle Brand for Plus-Size Women, Launches into Swimwear

Curated Swim Collection Featuring Female-Owned Brands Andie Swim, Kitty and Vibe and Nomads Swimwear Debuts Throughout Spring

Dia & Co, the leading clothing and lifestyle brand for style in sizes 10-32, announced today the launch of it’s newest category: swimwear — continuing their mission to provide every woman access to stylish options that make her look and feel her best. The collections represent Dia’s belief in the power of style to transform, and provide customers with fun, fresh, fashion-forward swimwear. A digital-only retailer and community of more than 5 million women, Dia & Co is launching with top swim brands to offer its community an expansive selection of swimwear across a broad range of styles, silhouettes and sizes.

Dia & Co’s expansion into swimwear features notable female-owned brands such as Andie Swim, Kitty and Vibe and Nomads Swimwear, with limited-edition curated capsule collections from each brand. Together, the collections will feature more than 30 pieces. Notably, this launch represents the broadest size availability ever offered by each brand. Styles will be available from size large to 5X across all three brands, marking the first expansion above a size 3X for Andie Swim and Kitty and Vibe, and the first expansion beyond a 4X for Nomads Swimwear. In addition, Dia will be adding new collections throughout the summer from brands that are new and beloved by our community.

“As we all look forward to warmer weather this Summer we couldn’t be more excited to launch this collection of swimwear. Whether you live by the beach, have plans to jump into a blow-up pool in the back yard or even just to take a soak in a bathtub, avoiding the dread of bathing suit shopping while enjoying some much needed R&R with these fun, perfectly-fitting pieces is something we can all look forward to.” said Dia & Co, CEO Nadia Boujarwah.

Available at , the collections will provide exclusive drops through May with prices ranging from USD 45 – USD 145.

Dia & Co is the leading clothing and lifestyle brand for style in sizes 10-32. The company offers a range of brands through theDia Shop and a personalized shopping experience through the curatedDia Style Box subscription service. Through Dia & Co’s personalized styling service each customer receives curated boxes of clothing selected to fit her body, her budget, and her lifestyle—all to try on in the comfort of her own home. Dia & Co was founded by Nadia Boujarwah and Lydia Gilbert in 2015 to revolutionize the shopping experience for plus size women — an underserved group of more than 100 million women. Since then, the direct-to-consumer-company has built a dedicated and diverse community, working with millions of customers across all 50 states.Visit for more information.

Andie knows that when a swimsuit fits perfectly, enjoying yourself comes naturally. Their size-inclusive styles designed for women, by women take the struggle out of swim shopping. Using data points from thousands of women, Andie’s Swim-Fit Quiz helps find a fit for every preference, every activity, and every body. For more information, please go to

Kitty and Vibe is the first swimwear brand to use inseam measurements as a revolutionary way to address the wide variation in sizing that was never previously addressed in the category. Founder and CEO Cameron Armstrong’s objective was to build a swimwear brand that would address all body types. She has created a revolutionary sizing metric, named the “Kitty Size”, that takes into account both hips and butt – resulting in 2 butt sizes for every hip size. Sizing currently ranges from A – G cup in tops and S1 – 3XL2 in bottoms (equivalent to sizes 0-24). Kitty and Vibe’s mission is to awaken and fuel self-love for a kinder world. Since launch, the brand quickly established a significant following and has built a loyal fan base among consumers and the press, including being dubbed “the future of swimwear” by Forbes magazine.

Kitty and Vibe has expanded its size range exclusively for Dia & Co, with a new bikini top size H, bikini bottom sizes 4XL1 – 5XL2, and one piece sizes 4XL & 5XL available in both regular and long torso options.

 As a plus-size model, Taylor Long saw how truly limited the swimwear options are for curvy women. She grew tired of the matronly, modest styles and lack of size inclusivity in the swimwear industry, so she created Nomads Swimwear to offer chic, bold swim styles for women of all sizes. Nomads Swimwear is now working alongside Dia & Co. to show that real size inclusion is possible! Nomads Swimwear is a size-inclusive swimwear brand that features unique cuts and styles, one-of-a-kind prints and long-lasting fabrics. Inspired by Long’s global travels and experiences as a plus-size model, the designer brand is comprised of fun, sexy styles designed for women of all shapes and sizes. Designed with love in the U.S. and manufactured in Colombia, Nomads Swimwear is committed to providing bold swim styles for the modern woman. For more information, visit

Spinnova and Suzano to open commercial scale factory in 2022

Partners to invest 50 % each, H&M Group joins Spinnova’s partners

Material innovation company Spinnova and the world’s largest wood pulp producer Suzano will make an estimated 22 million euro investment to build the first commercial scale SPINNOVA®production facility in Finland. The total investment, including all needed infrastructure such as real estate, is estimated to be some 50 million euros. Spinnova’s sustainable fibre, created out of wood and waste without the use of harmful chemicals, will be available for global textile brands in 2022.

The new, industrial scale production unit will be located in Jyväskylä, Finland, home of Spinnova’s R&D hub and pilot facility. Production will be managed and operated by a new joint venture company owned 50/50 by Spinnova and their partner and investor, Suzano.

The joint venture investment is estimated to be 22 million euros in size. According to Spinnova, the total investment, encompassing all needed infrastructure such as real estate, is some 50 million euros. The real estate will be built and rented for the joint venture by the Jyväskylä real estate development company Jykia.

“Every leading textile brand is looking for ways to minimise their emissions and ecological footprint, and build a circular material foundation for their products,” says Spinnova’s CEO and co-founder Janne Poranen. “We feel humble and proud that soon we will be able to provide brands our new, disruptively sustainable fibre and fabrics.”

Suzano is a world leader in the production of eucalyptus pulp and has expanded its operations to create sustainable and innovative solutions derived from trees to the challenges faced by society. In the joint venture, Spinnova will be the exclusive technology provider, while Suzano will ensure the supply of sustainably produced micro-fibrillated cellulose obtained from eucalyptus planted by Suzano in Brazil. The fibre produced will be sold under the SPINNOVA®trademark.

“Suzano uses only planted trees in its production processes. This renewable raw material is being combined with Spinnova’s technology for producing fibres that are more sustainable than the options currently available in the textile industry, which is aligned with the demands of contemporary society”, says Fernando Bertolucci, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Suzano.

With a process that uses no harmful chemicals and 99 % less water than the cotton value chain, the SPINNOVA® fibre can be considered the most sustainable textile fibre there is. Fibre produced this way creates minimal CO2 emissions, is quickly biodegradable and contains no microplastics. The fact that these fibres can be recycled into a new fibre again and again makes the SPINNOVA® fibre disruptively circular. The Spinnova technology enables textile fibre production out of wood but also from textile waste or agricultural waste such wheat or barley straw.

H&M Group in collaboration with Spinnova

Spinnova materials have been developed in collaboration with leading fashion brands such as Danish clothing company Bestseller, Finnish fashion house Marimekko, and Norwegian outdoor brand Bergans. Today, the H&M Group announces it has joined this group of brands in a partnership with Spinnova.

“ The H&M Group’s ambition is to become fully circular, and we are continuously testing and actively looking to further integrate the use of sustainable materials through our group’s brands. We see Spinnova as having great potential to address several of the sustainability challenges we face today,” comments Mattias Bodin, H&M Group’s Circular Innovation Lab Lead.

Most leading apparel brands are committed to become climate neutral or even climate positive. Since Spinnova materials’ cradle to gate emissions are considerably less than those of cotton, it’s a radical improvement to existing textile fibres. Spinnova’s fibre already works well in blends with other natural fibres, especially cotton. In big volumes, Spinnova blends alone can have a big positive environmental impact.

Spinnova will be announcing a number of new brand collaborations and products later this year. The company expects to fill the new factory’s production capacity during this year.

“We believe that the SPINNOVA® fibre will be the breakthrough that the textile and fashion industry has been waiting for,” Poranen adds. “We have all the needed components in place: a good quality product that can replace cotton in end products, proof of concept from our production pilot, scalable technology and ample, sustainable raw material supply.”

To speed up the company’s further growth, Spinnova is now actively exploring multiple substantial financing alternatives.


Sandler continues to grow despite the pandemic

Sandler’s sales and team continue to grow. Additional capacity for the production of nonwovens for face masks and respirators has been added. The pandemic causes the requirements within the company to shift significantly. The U.S. subsidiary looks back on an eventful year.

Notwithstanding the pandemic, Sandler is looking back on a successful year 2020. The nonwovens manufacturer achieved an increase in sales from 322 to 328 million Euros. Welcoming 60 new staff members, the Sandler team grew to 940, including 19 apprentices who started their professional careers in 2020. To contribute to the fight against the coronavirus, the Sandler team kicked up its efforts, putting decades of experience in filtration to effective use and utilising as much capacity as possible for the production of nonwovens for face masks.

CEO Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler

In the wake of the first phase of the pandemic, supply shortages regarding protective masks quickly and dramatically exacerbated. “In April, we therefore we decided without further ado to invest in a new production line for nonwovens for face masks“, CEO Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler remembers. In record time, the new line was set up at the company’s headquarters in Schwarzenbach/Saale (Bavaria). Production started in August 2020 and by September, the nonwovens line was running 24/7, making the CEO proud of his team.

In May 2020, Sandler became one of the founding members of the Mask-Alliance Bavaria. The company has since been applying its competence in this organisation, which set up a fully Bavarian value chain, manufacturing these medical products for use in fighting the coronavirus.

The pandemic also rapidly changed the requirements of Sandler’s markets. In the automotive industry and furniture production orders declined in the second quarter 2020, while demand in other segments, such as nonwovens for disinfection wipes or personal protective equipment, increased markedly. At the same time, Sandler substantially invested in the modernisation of workplaces and factory buildings. As for the company’s product range, Sandler continued to expand all of its market segments, among them applications in construction or hygiene products, also extending its range of efficient sound-absorbing materials for interior acoustics.

For Sandler, the pandemic gave rise to further challenges: At Sandler Nonwoven Corporation in Perry, Georgia, USA, a new production line was being set up inside a new building constructed specifically for this purpose. Advancing the strategic expansion of the U.S. site, specialists from headquarters regularly travel to Perry to contribute to the installation of the new line. Corona-related ravel restrictions imposed by the U.S. Government delayed the on-site support, but the U.S. team steadily continued the assembly. Since late 2020, the German experts have been able to join their colleagues and apply their competences in person again. In late December, first trial runs of the new production line were conducted; commissioning is now in its final stages.

In addition to concerns about maintaining supply chains, 2020 was characterised by significant fluctuations in raw material prices and freight costs. For CEO Dr. Sandler, the cooperation and team spirit within the Sandler staff are the reasons why the company was able to successfully navigate this tense situation: In all areas of the company, staff members working in divisions affected by declines in orders determinedly took on new tasks to assist their colleagues in segments where demand was increasing rapidly.

Sandler traditionally puts a large emphasis on sustainability, which in 2020 was again reflected in the expansions of both company sites as well as innovative product solutions geared towards conserving valuable resources. Sandler uses various natural and recycled raw materials in the production of both durable technical nonwovens and materials for disposable hygiene products. In cooperation with customers and suppliers the company ascertained which fibres are suitable for nonwovens production, for example pineapple, flax, bamboo, or corn. In April 2020, these innovations were at the centre of the “green month” on the company’s social media channels. Every week, Sandler introduced an alternative fibre. In addition, the campaign was linked to a fundraiser: For every shared post Sandler donated one Euro to an organisation that used the sum collected to plant 500 trees. Advancing its sustainability agenda, Sandler consistently pursues the goal of further reducing the ecological footprint in the manufacture of its products.

Growth and innovation continue to be Sandler’s predominant focus in 2021. “Building on the experiences and knowledge gained from the crisis year 2020, the Sandler team is excellently equipped to achieve these goals”, concludes Christian Heinrich Sandler.

BRS Completes Sale of DTLR Villa, LLC to JD Sports Fashion Plc

On March 17, 2021, BRS & Co. (“BRS” or the “Firm”) completed the sale of DTLR Villa, LLC (“DTLR”), a specialty retailer of footwear, apparel and accessories with 247 stores located in 19 states, to JD Sports Fashion Plc (“JD”) for USD 495 million.

BRS invested in DTLR in October 2005 and with its exceptional management team grew the business from 43 to 247 units and from USD 84 million to USD 500 million in sales. The Firm stated, “There are many things of which to be proud regarding DTLR, but by far the two most significant are the many years of mutual respect, support and partnership between BRS and DTLR management and the sale of the business to JD, one of the world’s pre-eminent retailers, and a company renowned for its treatment of management and the growth of its businesses. BRS expects DTLR to enjoy great success under JD ownership and to continue on its path to become one of the most successful specialty retailers in the U.S.”

BRS thanks everyone involved with this investment and transaction for helping to bring about this conclusion. 

BRS is a New York based private equity investment firm with combined capital invested of USD 1.2 billion, focused on investing in lower middle market consumer goods and services businesses. Since 1996, BRS has purchased over 50 portfolio companies for aggregate consideration of over USD 6.9 billion. In addition, BRS portfolio companies have completed over 40 add-on acquisitions.  

Clariant AG: Clariant presents its Integrated Report 2020

•            Transparency on multidimensional approach to value creation

•            Focus on Clariant’s environmental, social and governance performance

•            Complete report available online, short report available as hard copy

 Clariant, a focused, sustainable and innovative specialty chemical company, today published its Integrated Report 2020. It provides transparency on the company’s multidimensional approach to create value for all of its stakeholders by reviewing both tangible and intangible as well as financial and nonfinancial aspects of its business.

Titled “Into the New”, the report dives into Clariant’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and evaluates the impact of the company’s business activities, corporate citizenship activities, and collaborations in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Clariant is actively shaping the future of our fast-changing world, not only through its products and solutions, but equally through its people across the globe. The Integrated Report 2020 showcases some of these changemakers who are driving innovations with their vision and commitment. Meet them on

“As part of our continued commitment to integrated reporting, we enhanced the reflection on Clariant’s environmental, social and governance performance in its business activities to strengthen the confidence of all our stakeholders. By taking a transparent view of how Clariant drives change to actively contribute to the SDGs, the report emphasizes the relevance of a holistic approach to sustainability,” said Hariolf Kottmann, Chairman of Clariant’s Board of Directors.

In order to support the company’s sustainability strategy, Clariant decided to put more focus on the online Integrated Report. Therefore, the complete Integrated Report for 2020, including the Corporate Governance Report, Compensation Report, Financial Report as well as the GRI report, is available online on and can be downloaded as PDF file in English only. A short version of the report that provides a summary will be available as hard copy in English and German and can be ordered via the Clariant website.

PICANOL GROUP acquires minority stake in Swiss Rieter Holding AG

Picanol Group has on March 16, 2021 acquired a minority stake in Rieter Holding AG (SWX: RIEN), amounting to a total of 467,236 shares for a price of 45.4 million EUR (or a price per share of CHF 107.5). Rieter is the world’s leading supplier of systems for short-staple fibre spinning. The company develops and manufactures machinery, systems and components used to convert natural and man-made fibres into yarns.

As a result of the transaction, Picanol Group is now holding 10 % of the share capital of Rieter Holding AG.

With the financial participation in Rieter Holding AG, Picanol Group wants to further diversify its activities in the textile industry and secure a stable shareholding for Rieter Holding AG in the long term.

Picanol Group will announce its financial results for 2020 on March 25, 2021 (before opening of the stock exchange).

Rieter (SWX: RIEN) is the world’s leading supplier of systems for short-staple fibre spinning. Based in Winterthur (Switzerland), the company develops and manufactures machinery, systems and components used to convert natural and man-made fibres and their blends into yarns. Rieter is the only supplier worldwide to cover spinning preparation processes as well as all 4 end spinning processes currently established on the market. Furthermore, Rieter is a leader in the field of precision winding machines. With 15 manufacturing locations in 10 countries, the company employs a global workforce of some 4,420 people. Rieter realized a consolidated turnover of 516 million EUR in 2020.

Picanol Group is a diversified industrial group, and it is active worldwide in the fields of mechanical engineering, agriculture, food, energy, water management, the efficient (re)use of natural resources and other industrial markets. The group’s products are used in a variety of applications, industrial and consumer markets. Picanol Group realized a consolidated turnover of EUR 2.2 billion in 2019. Picanol Group has approximately 7000 employees worldwide and it is listed on Euronext Brussels (PIC) via Picanol nv.

The H&M group’s sales development in the first quarter and early March 2021

In the first quarter 2021, i.e. in the period 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021, the H&M group’s net sales decreased by 21 percent in local currencies compared with 1 December 2019 to 29 February 2020. Converted to SEK the group’s net sales amounted to SEK 40,060* m (54948 m).

Sales development was significantly affected by the Covid-19 situation, with extensive restrictions and at most over 1800 stores temporarily closed. Since the beginning of February, a number of markets have gradually allowed stores to reopen and at the end of the quarter around 1300 stores remained temporarily closed. Online sales have continued to develop very well.

Since Germany, the H&M group’s largest market, and other countries have begun allowing certain stores to reopen, the number of temporarily closed stores in the group amounted to around 900 on 13 March. Sales in the period March  1–13 this year increased by 10 % in local currencies compared with the same period in 2020.

* The amount is provisional and may deviate slightly from the three-month report, covering the period December 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021, that will be published on March 31, 2021.

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on Nasdaq Stockholm. H&M’s business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME and ARKET as well as Afound. The H&M group has 52 online markets and approximately 5000 stores in 74 markets including franchise markets. In 2020, net sales were SEK 187 billion. The number of employees amounts to approximately 153000.

Lenzing Group weathers the crisis year 2020 and remains strategically well on track

  • Successful implementation of measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on the safety and health of employees, customers and partners and securing sustainable business development
  • Implementation of strategic investment projects progressing on schedule – financing contracts for the construction of the pulp plant in Brazil concluded according to plan
  • Lenzing expands its lead in sustainability and circular economy – first TENCEL™ branded carbon-zero fibres launched
  • Successful issuance of a EUR 500 mn hybrid bond further strengthens balance sheet structure
  • Lenzing expects recovery of the fibre market to continue in 2021 and an operating result on pre-crisis level.

In 2020, the Lenzing Group successfully responded to the extremely difficult market environment due to the COVID-19 crisis by implementing a broad package of measures and remains fully on track in terms of its strategy. The measures focused on protecting Lenzing’s employees and partners and on safeguarding its operations. Lenzing flexibly adjusted production volumes and was able to offer its customers the usual delivery service at any time. In addition, Lenzing also intensified measures for structural earnings improvement to mitigate the effect of the pressure on fibre prices and demand for fibres, and reduced its operating costs.

The immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis increased the pressure on prices and volumes in the textile fibre segment, in particular in the second quarter of 2020. The recovery of demand in the second half of the year, primarily for wood-based specialty fibres such as TENCEL™ Modal and LENZING™ ECOVERO™, had a positive impact on the revenue and earnings development, but could not compensate for losses. Revenue declined by 22.4 % to EUR 1.63 bn in 2020. The earnings development essentially reflects the decline in revenue, but was supported by measures for structural earnings improvements in all regions. EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fell by 39.9 % to EUR 196.6 mn. The EBITDA margin decreased from 15.5 % to 12 %. Net profit/loss for the year amounted to EUR minus 10.6 mn (2019: EUR 114.9 mn) and earnings per share attributable to Lenzing shareholders to EUR 0.24 (2019: EUR 4.63).

“2020 was largely dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, also at Lenzing. Lenzing responded quickly and with determination to the increased pressure on prices and volumes. In the second half of the year, we saw a broad recovery of the fibre market; in particular, demand for our sustainably produced specialty fibres increased significantly”, says Stefan Doboczky, CEO of the Lenzing Group. “Strategically, we remain fully on track and the implementation of our key projects in Brazil and Thailand continues to proceed according to plan. With our corporate priorities, we are consistently pursuing a major goal, namely to make a zero-carbon future come true”, says Doboczky.

Strengthening specialty fibre growth

CAPEX (expenditures for intangible assets, property, plant and equipment and biological assets) nearly tripled to EUR 668.8 mn in 2020. This increase is a consequence of the implementation of the major projects in Brazil and Thailand. The Lenzing Group’s investment activities continued to focus on expanding the internal production of pulp, increasing the share of specialty fibres and implementing the climate targets in line with the sCore TEN corporate strategy during the reporting year.

The construction of the dissolving wood pulp plant in Brazil continues to progress according to plan. After the final investment decision in December 2019, the Duratex Group acquired a 49 % share in the joint venture LD Celulose in the first quarter of the reporting year as agreed. Lenzing holds 51 % of the shares. The expected Industrial CAPEX will be USD 1.38 billion. The project is predominantly financed through equity and long-term debt. The corresponding financing contracts were concluded in the second quarter of 2020 as planned. The commissioning of the pulp plant is scheduled for the first half of 2022.

Specialty fibres are Lenzing’s great strength. The strategic target to generate roughly 50 % of revenue with specialty fibres in 2020 has already been met. Lenzing aims for further organic growth in this area in order to be even more resilient to volatile markets in the future. The focus of the coming years will clearly be on the construction of the new, state-of-the-art lyocell plant in Thailand, with the objective to increase the share of specialty fibres in the revenue generated by the Segment Fibres to more than 75 % by 2024. The investment for the new plant with a capacity of 100000 tons amounts to roughly EUR 400 million. Construction work started in the second half of 2019 and went according to plan during the reporting year. Production is expected to be launched at the end of 2021.

Solid balance sheet structure

As one of the first companies worldwide, Lenzing placed a bonded loan bound to its sustainability performance in 2019 in order finance further operational growth. In November 2020, Lenzing successfully issued a subordinated hybrid bond with a total volume of EUR 500 mn, which is classified as equity in accordance with IFRS. The bond was oversubscribed multiple times, has a perpetual tenor and an annual coupon of 5.75 %. As a result, adjusted equity increased by 22.5 % to EUR 1.91 bn as at December 31, 2020, corresponding to an adjusted equity ratio of 45.8 %.

Sustainability at Lenzing

With the implementation of its science-based targets, the Lenzing Group actively contributes to mastering the problems caused by climate change. In 2019, Lenzing made a strategic commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions per ton of product by 50 % by 2030. The target is to be climate-neutral by 2050. The implementation of the two key projects in Brazil and Thailand is an important milestone on this journey. Thanks to its excellent infrastructure, the location in Thailand can be supplied with sustainable biogenic energy. In addition, the plant in Brazil will feed more than 50 % of the electricity generated into the public grid as renewable energy.

The introduction of the first TENCEL™ branded CarbonNeutral® fibres and the establishment of the Renewable Carbon Initiative with the aim of speeding up the transition to renewable carbon are further important events from the reporting year, which serve as examples of the successful path that Lenzing and its partners are taking towards carbon neutrality.

The Lenzing Group received several awards for its achievements during the 2020 financial year, most notably in the field of sustainability:

  • Lenzing underwent assessment by the non-profit environmental organization CDP for the first time in 2020 and was the first new entrant to secure a double ‘A’ score in the categories climate and forest.
  • ISS ESG, one of the most recognised rating agencies in the field of sustainability, raised Lenzing’s sustainability rating from “C+” to “B-”, the highest rating in the category “Paper & Forest Products”, positioning the Lenzing Group among the top 10 % of rated companies. The “Prime Status” of the Lenzing Group was also confirmed.
  • In Canopy’s Hot Button Ranking Lenzing achieved the highest category for the first time. The Canadian environmental organization particularly highlighted our continuous leadership regarding sustainable procurement and efficient use of resources over the past years.
  • In December Lenzing won the prestigious “Building Public Trust Award 2020” for the best climate reporting on the Austrian ATX. The jury emphasized Lenzing’s commitment to a holistic climate-related strategic alignment and clear targets.
  • In addition, Lenzing won the Austrian State Prize for Innovation. This award recognizes Lenzing’s achievements and its strategy to grow exclusively on the basis of sustainable innovations. Lenzing convinced the jury with its LENZING™ Web Technology. The novel process combines fibre and nonwovens production in only one step, setting new standards in terms of efficiency, circularity and ecological sustainability.

Guidance for 2021

The International Monetary Fund expects global growth of 5.5 % for 2021. However, the economic recovery after the deep recession caused by COVID-19 is subject to risks and largely depends on the further development of the pandemic. The currency environment is expected to remain volatile in the regions relevant to Lenzing.

The global fibre and pulp markets came under considerable pressure as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The significant recovery of demand from the third quarter of 2020 onwards, starting in China, continued into the first quarter of 2021 and is currently providing a friendly market environment. In the cotton market, a shortage of supply, in particular for organic cotton, is anticipated in the current 2020/2021 harvest and, consequently, an unchanged development in inventory levels.

At the same time, Lenzing still expects a continued increase in demand for sustainably produced fibres for the textile and apparel industry as well as for the hygiene and medical industry. This trend is likely to continue unabated after the COVID-19 pandemic, not least due to a number of legislative initiatives.

With the prospect of a broad population being vaccinated against COVID-19 in the near future, optimism and confidence in an early return to normality are also growing within the textile value chain. However, the currently positive environment is still characterized by a high level of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the earnings visibility remains limited. Taking into account the above factors, the Lenzing Group expects the operating result to develop at a similar level in 2021 as in the pre-crisis year 2019.

Lenzing considers itself well-positioned in view of these developments and based on its sCore TEN corporate strategy, and will in particular continue the disciplined implementation of the strategic investment projects, which will make a significant contribution to earnings from 2022.

Finnish firms among fastest growing in Europe

The Financial Times has listed 13 Finnish firms in its ranking of the fastest-growing companies in Europe, the FT 1000.

By guest author Aleksi Teivainen from Good News from Finland

To earn a spot in the ranking, a company needed to report a compound annual growth rate of at least 35.5 % in revenue between 2016 and 2019.

Leading the Finnish pack is LVS Brokers, a Helsinki-headquartered financial technology startup that uses artificial intelligence to match customers with the best financial service provider for their needs. The startup made already its third consecutive appearance in the ranking, landing 82nd with a compound growth rate of almost 150 % over the measurement period.

It is in rare company, as only 92 companies have ranked among the fastest growing on the continent for three consecutive years.

Both Virta and Supermetrics were ranked in the top 200, with the former, an electric vehicle charging network stretching across more than 30 countries, coming in 144th with a growth rate of 120 % and the latter, a reporting automation provider, at 193rd with a growth rate of 106 %.

Jussi Palola, the CEO of Virta, told Kauppalehti that the company grew last year at a clip of 50 % despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, bringing its unverified annual revenue to EUR 11 million.

“We are also aiming for more than 50 % growth this year,” he declared.

A computer-generated illustration of a block of flats made of grey bricks.

Leading the Finnish pack is LVS Brokers, a Helsinki-headquartered financial technology startup that uses artificial intelligence to match customers with the best financial service provider for their needs. The startup made already its third consecutive appearance in the ranking, landing 82nd with a compound growth rate of almost 150 per cent over the measurement period.

Newil & Bau, the 236th fastest growing company in Europe according to The Financial Times, is on a mission to restore ambition to new constriction and establish itself as the leading residential constructor in Finland. Image: Newil & Bau

Such sanguinity is uncommon under the prevalent circumstance. The Financial Times viewed that its ranking shows the rapid growth rates some companies will seek to duplicate after weathering the heavy headwinds wrought by the pandemic and the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.

“Half of all European companies have reported a revenue or profit decline in the past 12 months and do not expect improvement in the coming year, according to consulting firm Accenture,” it wrote.

The ranking, it added, continues to reflect the brisk growth of technology companies, which strengthened their presence in the ranking by 30 to 219. The top-ranked company, however, was Bulb Energy, the largest green energy company by market share in the UK.

To earn a spot in the ranking, a company needed to report a compound annual growth rate of at least 35.5 % in revenue between 2016 and 2019.

To earn a spot in the ranking, a company needed to report a compound annual growth rate of at least 35.5 per cent in revenue between 2016 and 2019.

Finland is represented in the ranking also by Evondos (211th), Newil & Bau (236th), Prestige Car Center (433rd), Heltti (484th), Gapps (556th), Lämpö-Valli (603rd), Vertia (772nd), Istekki (834th), Axopar Boats (882nd) and Integrata (957th).

Eetu Koski, the CEO of Evondos, said the Salo-based provider of an automated medicine dispensing service saw its revenue surge from about 870 000 euros in 2016 to seven million euros in 2019. The company has also begun laying the groundwork for future growth, bringing in its 100th employee as part of a recruitment campaign that grew its headcount by 20 per cent in 2020.

The country was even better represented one year earlier, with 17 companies making the FT 1000: Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies. The ranking is compiled in collaboration with Statista.

Clariant AG: Clariant and India Glycols tap into green renewables megatrend by forming joint venture

•            JV to become a leading supplier of renewable ethylene oxide (EO) derivatives

•            Production facilities in India to supply local and global markets

•            Both parties contribute parts of their existing businesses and Clariant makes relevant equalisation payment to attain majority ownership.

Clariant, a focused, sustainable and innovative specialty chemical company, and India Glycols Limited (IGL), a leading company in the manufacturing of green technology-based chemicals, today announced a strategic partnership to establish a 51-49% joint venture in renewable ethylene oxide (EO) derivatives.

By combining production and distribution capacity, the joint venture is expected to become a leading supplier of renewable materials to the rapidly growing consumer care market in India and neighboring countries, while providing Clariant the ability to leverage the EO derivatives globally across the home care, personal care and industrial applications segments of its Industrial and Consumer Specialties business. The partnership is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

“This opportunity to partner with India Glycols is an important step in Clariant’s journey to strengthen our core portfolio, while adding value with sustainability. It enhances the capacity of our Industrial and Consumer Specialties business in India and beyond, whereas the access to renewable Ethylene Oxide broadens our global offering to customers and this makes Clariant a leader in “green” Ethylene Oxide Derivatives”, said Conrad Keijzer, CEO of Clariant.

“The partnership is in line with IGL’s strategy to promote value added products through sustainable green chemistry in the domestic market while expanding footprints in global markets. IGL being the largest manufacturer of green EO in the world, which is based on a unique and green production process using bio-ethanol, would continue to leverage its strength in further developing complex and sustainable chemistry to create value for its shareholders”, commented U.S. Bhartia, Chairman of India Glycols Limited.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, India Glycols will contribute its renewable Bio-EO Derivative business to the joint venture, which includes a multipurpose production facility including an alkoxylation plant located in Kashipur, Uttarakhand (India). In return, Clariant will contribute its local Industrial and Consumer Specialties business in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, held by Clariant India Ltd., as well as a net cash payment to attain a 51% stake and thus majority ownership. Clariant International Ltd. will be the sole Clariant shareholder in the JV. Mr. U.S. Bhartia would be the designated chairman of the joint venture.

Christian Vang, Global Head of Clariant’s Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties, added: “By partnering with India Glycols, Clariant will become one of the established players for ethylene oxide derivates in India and provide products on a renewable basis. By working closely together and leveraging the unique capabilities of both parties, we see opportunities for profitable growth based on strong local organic demand as well as the global megatrend for renewable products.”

The joint venture will market Clariant’s entire range of Industrial and Consumer Specialties products in the previously mentioned countries, while all other global markets shall be served by Clariant. To support production, India Glycols has agreed to a long-term supply agreement for ethylene oxide made from bio-ethanol as well as further utilities. At its inception, the joint venture will have approximately 200 employees.

Clariant is a focused, sustainable and innovative specialty chemical company based in Muttenz, near Basel/Switzerland. On 31 December 2020, the company employed a total workforce of 13 235. In the financial year 2020, Clariant recorded sales of CHF 3860 million for its continuing businesses. The company reports in three business areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis and Natural Resources. Clariant’s corporate strategy is based on five pillars: focus on innovation and R&D, add value with sustainability, reposition portfolio, intensify growth, and increase profitability.

BASF marks 15th anniversary of Deoxo™ converter helping airlines to improve passenger safety and comfort

  • Deoxo is the only converter removing both harmful ozone and odor causing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
  • Increases passenger and crew comfort levels during air travel
  • Sustainability benefits include positive health and safety impact. 

BASF celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Deoxo converter, helping airlines remove harmful ozone and VOCs from cabin air and to improve passenger safety and comfort during air travel. Since its introduction, Deoxo has been proven on numerous platforms including Airbus A320, across thousands of aircrafts, over millions of flight hours, and remains the only converter in commercial service that can remove both harmful ozone and odor causing VOCs from aircraft cabin air. The dual effectiveness of Deoxo can be used by airlines to attract health-conscious customers.

Odor causing VOCs such as jet fuel smell and odorous organic acids can enter the cabin through the bleed air system from exhaust fumes, engine oil and hydraulic leaks, as well as de-icing fluid ingestion. These odors can result in crew and passenger discomfort or even aircraft diversions and delays. Deoxo effectively removes those odors.

The air at high altitude also contains significant levels of ozone, which can enter the cabin through air conditioning ducts if left untreated. Ozone exposure is known to cause adverse health effects including headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pains, coughing, and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat. Deoxo removes this harmful ozone from cabin air.

BASF’s dual ozone/VOC converter can be added as an option on new airplanes or as a retrofit on airplanes in service that do not have an ozone converter or as an upgrade from an existing ozone-only converter.

“BASF is the leading supplier of ozone/VOC and ozone removal systems for aircraft OEMs. We are proud to celebrate 15 years on the market and are convinced that even more airlines and passengers could benefit from using Deoxo,“ says Detlef Ruff, Senior Vice President, Process Catalysts at BASF.

Deoxo is a trademark of BASF.

BASF’s Catalysts division is the world’s leading supplier of environmental and process catalysts. The group offers exceptional expertise in the development of technologies that protect the air we breathe, produce the fuels that power our world and ensure efficient production of a wide variety of chemicals, plastics and other products, including advanced battery materials. By leveraging our industry-leading R&D platforms, passion for innovation and deep knowledge of precious and base metals, BASF’s Catalysts division develops unique, proprietary solutions that drive customer success. Further information on BASF’s Catalysts division is available on the Internet at

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 110000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €59 billion in 2020. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S.