Performance Fibers Revamps

Industrial and tire reinforcement fibers and fabrics manufacturer Performance Fibers (PF), Charlotte, has announced a restructuring plan that includes a $25 million investment and the closure of its Moncure plant in New Hill, N.C. The company cites increasing overseas competition as the basis for its decision.

“Over half of the tires purchased in the U.S. are coming from imports rather than domestic production,” said PF CEO Wahid Tawfik. “U.S. tire manufacturers are core customers to our North American production assets, and we are facing considerable and growing competitive pressure as a total supply chain. Performance Fibers faces a double impact with offshore competitors offering similar reinforcement products at lower prices imported into the North American market. These same market forces are also at play in Europe.”

The restructuring includes consolidation in North America; equipment upgrades in North America and Europe; product quality improvements; and the establishment of a product development center of excellence.

PF will move production from Moncure to its Salisbury, N.C., site, which has a capacity of 200 million pounds of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fiber and has space to expand. Although 235 jobs will be eliminated at Moncure, PF plans to add 60 jobs to the existing 200 positions at Salisbury, and is offering Moncure employees the opportunity to fill those jobs.

“Our goal in this transformation is to combine our key learnings from all of our global yarn operations with the best polymer and spinning platform and with state of the art winding capability into a single site in North America to ensure that PF is among the very best in the global terms of cost, quality and service,” Tawfik said.

PF claims a 20-percent share of the global PET fiber and fabric reinforcements market, and is the only North American manufacturer of tire reinforcements and industrial products. It employs more than 3,000 people at production sites in the United States, Europe and Asia.

July/August 2014