The Lenzing Group has outlined its sustainable manufacturing technologies investment strategy for the coming years in its latest annual report. The Austrian fibre producer claims to have “developed well” in the 2018 financial year in spite of a “significantly more challenging market environment,” due in no small part to lower selling prices for standard viscose along with higher raw material and energy costs. Lenzing cites a “special responsibility” which it believes it bears as a market-leading company in the textile and nonwoven sectors, with fundamental ecological challenges needed to be tackled directly by stakeholders throughout the supply chain.

In 2018, the firm determined that it would continue with plans to invest around €100 mn in sustainable manufacturing technologies and production facilities by 2022. This commitment, Lenzing believes, will further strengthen its closed-loop model and support its customers in replacing resource-intensive and environmentally harmful solutions. “Although 2018 proved to be more challenging than the preceding years, it was, nevertheless, the fourth best year in the company’s history,” noted Stefan Doboczky, CEO of Lenzing Group.

“The very positive development of our speciality business in an expected challenging market environment for standard viscose confirms our strategic direction and our ambitious plans. Thanks to its speciality strategy and its strong brands based on innovation and sustainability, the Lenzing Group is significantly more resilient today than only a few years ago. However, we are not immune to global developments, and further efforts and investments in specialty fibres are required to become even more resistant to market fluctuations,” Doboczky concluded.

The annual report also points to a year of innovation for Lenzing, with the firm’s successful development of Lenzing Web Technology – a new platform with a focus on sustainable nonwoven products – opening new market opportunities in the coming years.

Based on the current exchange rates – another factor which may have stifled some growth opportunities for the company in the past 12 months – the Lenzing Group expects its results for 2019 to reach a similar level to those published for 2018, despite a much tighter market environment for standard viscose.