Spunlaid technology is not only growing in Europe, but also worldwide and offers a multitude of possibilities for engineered nonwovens.
Although Brazil and Argentina are currently affected by macroeconomic challenges, the South American region is still very important for us. Brazil and Argentina are fast growing markets for nonwovens.
The nonwoven markets in Europe and Asia are very different with regard to the range of applications. Last year, textile production in Asia was pretty strong and had a strong impact on our woven and knitted interlining turnover. Sales of nonwoven interlinings in Europe, however, declined. The upswing in the automotive industry in Asia had a very positive effect on our business. Asia is the fastest growing market in the world. The growth potential in Asia is much higher than in Europe. However, Europe is the technology leader in nonwovens production and plays therefore a key role. Some of our most advanced products are only marketed in Europe. These products still show attractive growth rates.
In Europe, the market for interlinings is saturated and that makes it difficult to grow. In the European healthcare business, we face many regulations. Meeting regulatory requirements and receiving approval by authorities are the biggest challenges. Price battles are not specific to the European markets, but are also a phenomenon of global competition.
The world we live in is of immeasurable value and should be preserved for future generations. Sustainability covers the entire product life cycle: from the use of valuable natural resources and energy in manufacturing to customers using our products, all the way to its ultimate disposal. It is our objective not only to meet international standards but also to proactively outperform them. We are pursuing the overarching goal of balancing our carbon footprint. This includes developing products based on recyclates and free from pollutants, formaldehyde etc., thus setting new standards in our industry sector. These efforts also include strict compliance with the EU's REACH regulations on chemicals.
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