CEO Martin Mikkelsen Interviewed for Sustainable Nonwovens Magazine
Jacob Holm was honored to have CEO Martin Mikkelsen featured in the December 2017 / January 2018 edition of Sustainable Nonwovens magazine. Find below an excerpt from Sustainable Nonwovens website, www.NonwovensNews.com. The full interview is available to subscribers of Sustainable Nonwovens magazine and can also be read by downloading the file at the bottom of the page.
Managing editor of Sustainable Nonwovens, Adrian Wilson, sat down with CEO of Jacob Holm, Martin Mikkelsen, to find out more about the company's progression in 2017, its acquisition of Sontara and the application overload of spunlace nonwovens.
SNW: Jacob Holm has a long history – can you provide our readers with a brief background to the company’s development, prior to 2014, when you became CEO?
Martin Mikkelsen: Jacob Holm was founded in 1794 as a grocery store and soon diversified by venturing into shipping, rope manufacturing and eventually synthetic polypropylene fibres. In 1979, Poul M. Mikkelsen, my father, acquired a majority of Jacob Holm. In the 1990s, Jacob Holm positioned itself to focus exclusively on developing new spunlaced applications, beginning with the first nonwoven production site in Soultz, France. The Candler, North Carolina, site followed in the 2000s. Recently, we acquired the Sontara assets from DuPont in the USA and Spain and completed the construction of an additional production line in Candler.
SNW: There have been big changes in the shape and structure of the company since you became CEO, most notably with the acquisition of the Sontara brand from DuPont in 2014, and then your significant investment in the proprietary line for dispersible wipes in Candler. You have been involved in spunlace production, however, since the 1990s. What in your view are the key advantages of this nonwoven technology?
MM: Spunlace is the most versatile nonwoven technology, combining both natural and post-industrial recycled fibres to create a very broad range of performance-specific fabrics. We continue to challenge ourselves to push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of technology combinations and performance improvement to serve our global customer base in the best way.
SNW: Do you think spunlace has reached its limit in terms of applications, or are there still new fields it could still enter?
MM: There are always new fields to enter in spunlace. Consumer needs and wants are expanding daily and it is our goal to be ahead of those desires. In addition, government regulations are becoming more demanding. We are investing significant capital and have exciting product launches and new developments coming in order to stay ahead of the trends and help grow the businesses of our customers.
SNW: What did the Sontara acquisition bring to Jacob Holm in terms of assets?
MM: The acquisition of Sontara expanded our production reach in the USA with its plant at Old Hickory, Tennessee, and that at Asturias, Spain, as well as our market reach in critical cleaning, beauty care, healthcare and high performance materials.
Our Sontara lines provide a unique technology and production that is unmatched in the market. In addition, the acquisition of Sontara expanded our global reach. We now have regional offices and more sales personnel worldwide, as well as multiple sales offices in Asia and Latin America to provide unmatched local support to our global customer base.
SNW: Could you say a little about Sontara’s performance benefits and the markets it is successful in?
MM: Sontara has unique low-lint, high absorbency and high strength attributes that make it a desired product in various applications. In addition, Sontara products are made without the use of binders or chemicals. Its variability for use in many segments and applications makes it a very unique brand.