Switzerland-based Oerlikon Group has announced changes to increase competitiveness for its textile segment, Oerlikon Textile GmbH & Co. KG, including simplifying its structure, moving its headquarters and increasing R&D investments.
Oerlikon Textile's current five textile machinery and components businesses will be reorganized into three business units: Manmade Fibers, comprising Oerlikon Barmag and Oerlikon Neumag; Natural Fibers, comprising Oerlikon Schlafhorst and Oerlikon Saurer; and Textile Components. Current branding of products will remain as is.
Oerlikon Textile's headquarters will relocate from Remscheid, Germany, to Shanghai. In connection with the move, CEO Thomas Babacan will leave the company effective Jan. 1, 2012, to be succeeded by Clement Woon, a native of Singapore and an executive with considerable experience in international and Asian business. The position of CFO also will move to Shanghai in the first quarter of 2012. By the end of next year, more than 40 percent of the company's senior management will operate out of the Shanghai office, up from 10 percent currently.
Oerlikon Textile's 2012 R&D investment will grow to approximately 80 million Swiss francs worldwide, including some 60 million Swiss francs in Germany and an increase of R&D capacity in China. R&D in Germany will center on development of leading-edge technologies, while in Asia, it will focus on adaptation for the regional market.
According to Oerlikon Group, Oerlikon Textile's sales in Asia will represent approximately 70 percent of total sales in 2011. Some 45 percent of Oerlikon Textile employees currently are based in Asia, and by 2014, some 50 percent of employees are expected to be based there.
"We have seen strong improvement in our Textile business, resulting in record margins," said Dr. Michael Buscher, Oerlikon Group CEO. "To ensure the continuation of this success, we will manage the textile business directly out of its most important market and at the same time strengthen R&D capabilities, especially in Germany."