Lenzing completes €60M expansion project at its facility in Heiligenkreuz, Austria, increases lyocell fiber capacity to 60,000 tonnes/year from 25,000 tonnes/year

LENZING, Austria , September 7, 2011 (press release) – The Lenzing Group has successfully completed its capacity expansion drive initiated three years ago at the fiber production facility located in Heiligenkreuz (Burgenland, Austria). Production capacity of the cellulose fiber TENCEL® was increased in several expansion steps by 25,000 tons to 60,000 tons per year at the current time. A total of about EUR 60 mill. was invested at the Heiligenkreuz site during this period, and the total number of employees working at the plant rose to the current level of more than 200 people.

On balance, Lenzing invested some EUR 250 mill. over the past one and a half decades in the Heiligenkreuz plant. A significant share of this investment volume was contracted to domestic companies. Since 2003 Lenzing has also been operating its energy and media center at the Heiligenkreuz Business Park, which was acquired in 2005.

The conclusion of the capacity expansion project was appropriately celebrated at a press conference in the presence of Burgenland’s Provincial Governor Hans Niessl. “The Lenzing Group has proven to be a reliable partner to Burgenland. In the past 15 years, since the construction decision was initially made, Lenzing Heiligenkreuz has become one of the most important industrial firms in the federal province of Burgenland. Lenzing is a decisive driving force for the entire economic area of South Burgenland”, said Provincial Governor Niessl.

Management Board Member Friedrich Weninger, responsible for the global fiber business of the Lenzing Group, underlined the significance of Heiligenkreuz for the Lenzing Group. “The Heiligenkreuz plant is an indispensable part of the Lenzing Group today. Here we produce TENCEL® fibers, which are supplied to the entire world, particularly Asia, from Burgenland. This is proof of the quality and competitiveness of the products manufactured in Heiligenkreuz,” Friedrich Weninger stated.

The TENCEL® fibers produced by Lenzing Fibers in Heiligenkreuz are cellulose fibers of the latest, third generation. They are manufactured from pulp which is derived from the sustainable raw material wood. In the production process, cellulose is physically converted into a solution by means of a special chemical. Subsequently the fibers are spun, dried and pressed into bales for shipment.

The production process for TENCEL® fibers (lyocell process) is an extremely environmentally-friendly process. The closed solvent cycle, the high level of energy efficiency and the low water consumption were the reasons for the European Union to bestow its environmental prize on TENCEL®. Water consumption per kilogram of fiber is only one-twentieth the comparable water consumption of irrigation-intensive cotton. The greenhouse gas emissions of the TENCEL® production process are also very low.

On the basis of their outstanding properties, TENCEL® fibers boast a particularly broad spectrum of applications. For example, they are used in high quality women’s outerwear, but also in fashionable soft jeans (“soft denim”) because of their softness. Their optimal ability to regulate moisture has enabled TENCEL® fibers to enjoy a triumphant market success in the home textile segment.

TENCEL® fibers provide the basis for sleep, whether they are used for bedding or mattresses, where TENCEL® powder is incorporated into the foam. TENCEL® products are used worldwide in the nonwoven sector for hygienic purposes. With respect to technical textiles, TENCEL® fibers are also used as separators in high performance batteries, which are now being built into hybrid vehicles being manufactured today in large quantities.

The Lenzing Group is the only provider of TENCEL® fibers on an industrial scale in the world today. In addition to the Heiligenkreuz plant, Lenzing also manufactures TENCEL® fibers at two other sites: A special TENCEL® quality for the textile industry is produced in Grimsby/U.K. and the Mobile/Alabama/USA facility focuses on nonwoven applications.

Lenzing intends to almost double its TENCEL® production capacity from 140,000 tons at present to about 275,000 tons in the year 2015.

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