26 May 2005  Bekaert to expand its carding activities worldwide

Today, Bekaert has put in a bid to take over the ECC card clothing division of Carclo plc, a global supplier of technical plastic components and specialist wire products. 

With facilities in the UK, France, Italy, Turkey, USA, Canada, China and India, ECC is an important player in the manufacture and sales of card clothing [1] . With 300 employees, ECC realises annual sales of € 24 million and occupies important market positions.

Whilst Bekaert aims to take over the assets in the UK, the proposed transaction in the remaining countries consists of a share deal. The value of the acquisition is estimated at € 13 million. In line with the various laws and regulations concerned, Carclo plc. has started consultation with the employees. Carclo plc. and Bekaert both expect to reach an agreement in the coming weeks.

Bekaert has extensive experience in the manufacture of carding wires in its advanced wire products manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil and China. Since the end of 2002, with the acquisition of Sobelcard in Zwevegem (Belgium), which chiefly produces half products for card clothing manufacturers, Bekaert has itself been a player in the card clothing market. 

Earlier this year, Bekaert set up a joint-venture (75% - 25%) with Wuxi Owl Textile Accessories Co. Ltd., a leading producer of card clothing in China. In the course of the year work will start to set up a production facility in Wuxi (Jiangsu Province in China) for the manufacture of card clothing, which will eventually employ around a hundred people. This is an important step towards accessing the Chinese market for card clothing. It is the biggest market in the world today and will continue to grow, especially in the field of high quality products, in which Bekaert wants to be active. 

Henri-Jean Velge, Group Executive Vice President, explains: “Bekaert wants to play a leading role as a supplier for textile machine builders. Despite the fact that this industry is shifting significantly all over the world at the moment and is faced with relatively difficult market conditions, the development of a worldwide card clothing business fits our strategy of sustainable profitable growth. With the acquisition of ECC, Bekaert will move further up the value chain and therefore, the company will be able to offer its customers unique solutions thanks to an optimal combination of our core competencies, i.e. advanced wire products and advanced coatings. Bekaert wants to assume an important market position, both in carding products for non-woven applications, which are used chiefly in Europe and North America, and in card clothing for spinning mills, in which Asia, in particular, is an important growth market.”


[1] What is card clothing?

Carding is a preparatory step in textile manufacture whereby the natural and/or man-made fibres are opened, cleaned, then combed in one direction and combined into either a single continuous strand or a web, in so-called cards (carding machines).  The skein of carded fibres is then spun; the web is processed into non-woven applications.

The cylinders of the carding machines which process the fibres are ‘finished’ or covered with card clothing. This is a consumable good that is made from serrated carding wire, so-called metallic or rigid card clothing. Flexible card clothing, made of finer, oil tempered carding wire, is also used in wool and cotton carding machines. Bekaert is worldwide market leader in both types of carding wire.