Fiberglass manufacturer Jushi Group Co. Ltd. (Tongxiang, Zhejiang, China) reported on its current state of business, as well a number of new strategic initiatives and products at its 20th annual International Conference on Fiberglass held at its headquarters in Tongxiang on Oct. 7 and 8. Included was the announcement that the company is close to manufacture of a new plant in the USA.
The conference’s opening ceremony recognized, in part, the relocation of China Fiberglass Co. from Beijing to Tongxiang. China Fiberglass, a subsidiary of China National Building Materials Co., is a manufacturer of yarns and fabrics used to make products for the construction, pipe and other industries.
Later in the day, Zhang Yuqiang, Jushi CEO and president, held a news conference where he announced the company had entered “the decision-making stage” for a U.S.-based fiberglass manufacturing facility. He said the company has been researching sites and other business-related aspects for a potential plant in the United States for two years. A time frame for the company’s decision to proceed with the project was not provided.
A 6 percent price increase that went into effect in June, together a 22 percent increase of 2014 sales thus far over the previous year, has contributed to improved margins at the manufacturer after a global overcapacity of fiberglass production depressed prices in the past several years. Sales are expected to exceed 1 million lb in 2014. Zhang said the company has made further progress in its strategy to “actively withdraw from intense competition at the low end of the market,” noting Jushi increased the proportion of high-end product, relative to its total sales, to 49 percent in 2014, from 42 percent in 2013. In 2014, approximately 60 percent of Jushi’s sales was delivered to the domestic Chinese market.
Jushi purportedly operates the two largest fiberglass production furnaces in the world, one with a capaity of 100,000 tons and the other with a capacity of 120,000 tons. These are among the seven furnaces in operation at its Tongxiang plant. The company cold-repaired and upgraded both furnaces this year, and announced it will upgrade several more furnaces in 2015. In addition to increasing efficiency, the furnace cold repairs will also “help effectively control output for profitable growth,” Zhang said. In 2015, total global fiberglass demand is projected to grow 5 to 6 percent, while total global fiberglass capacity is expected to increase 1 to 2 percent.
A number of strategic cooperation framework agreements were announced at the Conference, including one between Jushi and Guandong Shemma Electric Co., a circuit board manufacturer, as well as an agreement between Jushi and Cathay Composites, a materials distributor based in the United Kingdom. Jushi also announced an extension of its high-modulus/strength E7 E-glass product line. The line now includes E7 568H chopped strands for polyamide, E7 386T direct roving for weaving, pultrusion and filament winding and E7 380 for weaving and filament winding.
Approximately 800 people attended the conference, which, in addition to a technical program, included plant tours of Jushi’s Tongxiang plant, Zhenshi Group’s Fiberglass Fabrics facility in Hengshi and Huamei Composites, a fabricator also in Hengshi.
The conference ended with a banquet held at the Jushi Sports Center where attendees were treated to a lavish dinner, entertainment and fireworks.