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Eugene Gerden

Expert Opinion

8th November 2017, St. Petersburg

Russia plans exports to Western markets

Leading Russian technical textiles and nonwovens producers are expanding their production capacities, with the aim to increase exports of finished products abroad, according to a recent report by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade.

For example, Inmed, Russia’s leading manufacturer and developer of modern functional materials, based on polymer nanofibres, has officially announced building of a new production facility, that will specialise on the manufacture of innovative materials that will be used for the needs of technical textiles, medical and chemical industries, according to the company.

Russia’s deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Evtukhov.

The new complex will be built within the territory of Neudorf special economic zone in St. Petersburg – one of the technical textile production centres in Russia.

The new facility will have an area of more than 7,000 sqm, including production facilities of 1,500 sqm, as well as a R&D centre on the area of 520 sqm. Planned construction period is 18 months.

General Director of Inmed Alexander Vnuchkin said total production capacity of the new plant will be 1.5 million linear metres of membrane materials and 600,000 innovative functional materials, based on nanofibres, per year. There is a possibility the volume of production will be increased during the next stage of the project.

Total volume of investments in the new project is estimated at RUB 1.65 billion (US$ 40 million). The majority of funds will be allocated from the company’s own sources, while the remaining will be provided by Russian banks in the form of loans.

According to the company’s initial plans, the new plant should have been commissioned in summer of last year, however, implementation of the project was suspended several times. The company plans to produce new materials, based on polymer nanofibres. The majority of future production of the plant will be used in the manufacture of special clothing for the needs of Russian military, as well as medicine industry.

Inmed is not expected to be the only Russian technical textiles producer, which plans to expand the production of innovative textile materials. The same plans are considered by Vtor-Com, a leading producer of technical textiles and nonwovens in the Russian Urals region.

As a general director of the company, Mikhail Ruzbin has recently said that by 2019 the company will increase the production of nonwovens and fibres by 50%-60%, compared to the current figures.

Building a new production facility by Inmed in Neudorf special economic zone in St. Petersburg.

As part of these plans, the company aims to increase the annual output of nonwoven needle-punched fabrics up to 18 million sqm. In addition, the company plans to produce 3 million running metres of nonwoven fabric every year and will expand the production of synthetic polyester fibre up to 12 million kg per year.

Analysts of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade predict further commissioning of new facilities for the production of innovative technical materials and nonwovens in the coming years. That will be mainly due to a high demand for them both in the domestic and foreign markets.

In the case of the domestic market, in recent years, the consumption of technical textiles in Russia has significantly increased, mainly due to the increase of the demand for them from military, medicine and pharmaceutical industries.

In the meantime, in addition to the domestic market, the demand for Russian innovative textile materials is also growing abroad, and in the EU states in particular, exports to which has significantly increased in recent years.

According to data, which was recently released by the Russian government, this year, exports of Russian-made innovative technical textile materials to foreign markets will reach about 100,000 tonnes, while the major sale markets are expected to be the EU states and former Soviet countries, including the CIS states.

At the same time, part of the supplies is expected to be carried to China and the Asia Pacific region, where the demand for Russian technical textile and functional materials has also increased in recent years.

In value terms, planned export supplies are currently not disclosed, however, according to analysts close to Russia’s deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Evtukhov, these figures may vary in the range of US$ 250-300 million.

Producers hope to significantly increase these figures in the coming years, as, despite the recent strengthening of the Russian currency – ruble – exports remain still more profitable for them, than the supplies to the domestic market.

Numerous research, conducted by the Russian government, shows that currently, domestic innovative technical textile materials are in high demand in Western markets, which is also due to their good quality and affordable price, compared to the EU analogues.

Particular hopes of Russian producers are put on exports to Germany, where the demand for innovative textile materials has been steadily growing since the beginning of 2000s.

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