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Eugene Gerden

Expert Opinion

28th September 2017, Moscow

Russian technical textiles continue rapid recovery

The Russian technical textiles industry continues its rapid recovery from the financial crisis, as its growth resumes and major investment projects are being implemented.

In the first half of 2017, the industry grew by about 20%, compared to the same period of last year, to US$1,45 billion in value terms, and is expected to grow further in the second half of 2017. The growth of nonwovens sector was even higher and reached 35%, constituting US$ 600 million in value terms, which became a record high in the last 36 months.

Preparations for the building of Ivanovo plant.

According to the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, in the second half of the year, total value of the market may reach US$ 2 billion, which will be a record high for the Russian technical textiles and nonwovens industries.

It is expected that the industry will continue to grow at higher rates, due to the commissioning of a new plant for the production of synthetic fibres in Ivanovo, which is expected to become the largest supplier of raw materials for the needs of Russian technical textiles and nonwovens industries.

Building of the plant that will be located in a special economic zone known as Vichuga in the Russian Ivanovo region, centre of Russia’s technical textiles production, has already started.

Despite the fact that its official commissioning is scheduled only for 2019, Pavel Konkov, the governor of the Ivanovo region, said that a significant part of its future production has already been contracted. Among the customers are some leading Russian and the EU technical textiles and nonwovens producers.

"Only in the case of polyester fibre, the amount of supplies to customers will amount to 108,000 tonnes during the first year of operation of the plant. In addition, another agreement for the sales of 30,000 tonnes of fibres was signed with the German trader Cetex. The latter contract involves sales of the production of the plant in the EU market,” he said. 

Building of the plant will allow to fully solve the problem of the industry’s shortage of raw materials and stop their imports from abroad.

Pavel Konkov, the governor of Ivanovo region.

A spokesman of Denis Manturov, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that at existing Russian enterprises, polyester fibre is produced mainly from secondary polyethylene terephthalate, obtained after the recycling of bottles, and has a relatively low quality.

“Quality polyester raw materials have always been imported from abroad, while Russia experienced a lack of facilities for the production of first-class polyester,” he explained.

At present, the annual synthetic fibre demand by Russian technical textiles producers is estimated at about 200,000 tonnes per year with the annual growth of 10-15%.

Thanks to the ever-expanding raw materials base and the improvement of business climate in Russia, many leading domestic and foreign technical textiles players have announced plans for the resuming implementation of investment projects, the majority of which were suspended because of the financial crisis.

For example, Promtekstil, a Russian technical textiles producer, which is based in the Voronezh region, a centre of Russia’s aircraft-building, has recently announced its plans to establish the production of lining canvases for tires and rubber products.

The project will cost about US$ 30 million, while the company plans to implement it by the end of the current year. To date, the authorities of the Voronezh region have already promised to provide support for the implementation of the project.

By 2018, the company intends to occupy 20% of the domestic market lining canvases with its new production.

Manturov spokesman has also added that in the mid-term the demand for technical textiles in Russia may grow by four times. 

“If we talk about traditional textiles, Russia really has practically no chances to maintain their production at the same volume, as in the past. The transfer of labour-intensive industries to countries with cheaper labour has resulted in the influx of Russia with cheap, quality products from traditional textiles, which made local producers non-competitive. In this regard, a particular attention of the state is currently paid to the expansion of the domestic technical textiles production,” said Manturov’s spokesman.

“As experience shows, for example, in Germany, technical textiles provide up to 70% of the light industry's growth, which means it in the list of top five high-tech industries in Germany,” said Andrei Razbrodin, president of the Russian Association of Textile and Technical Producers (Soyuzlegprom), a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

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