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The Rupp Report: Rieter: Owner Of Four Spinning Technologies

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

Here is the fifth in a series of exhibitor previews leading up to ITMA 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. This week, the Rupp Report takes a look at one of the oldest, if not the oldest, existing textile machinery companies in the world: Switzerland-based Rieter Holding AG. The company was founded in 1795. The Rupp Report was able to have two interview partners: Reto Thom, head of sales and marketing, Spun Yarn Systems (SYS); and Ioannis Spiridopulos, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Premium Textile Components (PTC).

Complete Spinning Solutions Provider
The Rieter Group is one of the leading suppliers for complete spinning plants and components. The headquarters are in Winterthur, and the company has 18 production sites worldwide in nine countries and employs 4,700 people around the world — some 26 percent of whom are based in Switzerland. As is well known, the company develops and produces machinery, total lines and components for the processing of natural and man-made fibers as well as blends. Rieter reports it is the only supplier that can deliver not only machinery for spinning preparation, but also all four established spinning processes on the markets: both conventional and compact ring spinning; rotor or open-end spinning; and air-jet spinning.

Rieter has production plants in Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, India the Netherlands, Czech Republic and, of course, Switzerland. The company runs its own sales and service offices in more than 60 countries, and 95 percent of all produced and sold equipment is exported. The main export destinations currently are India, Turkey, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh and, yes, the United States.

For Rieter Holding, there is no current top seller: As Thom mentioned: "For SYS, our customers appreciate the full range of products from bale opener to spinning machines. The reason is that [selecting] machinery from one source gives the customers increased security in their investment decisions that the production line is fully compatible." And, added Spiridopulos: "At PTC, our partners profit from a unique range of technology items for the complete fiber-to-yarn-forming process. As the sole supplier of technology parts for all four spinning technologies, PTC is the market leader in many sectors."

Are there examples for this statement? "Yes, of course," Spiridopulos said. "Bräcker is very successful with spinning rings. Novibra is a leading producer of spindles and spindle bearings. Graf sets the standard for card clothing for short-staple and nonwovens cards as well as combs for combing machines. And Suessen is a global leader for EliTe® compacting systems and open-end premium parts."

Well-Balanced Financial Situation
Rieter estimates incoming orders in the second half of this year will drop slightly compared to the first six months. The total of incoming orders probably will not be as high as the exceptionally successful year 2010. "We expect," Thom summarized, "that the pressure on margins and liquidity on the customer's side will remain for the near future. For the moment, it is not predictable whether these market irritations will be just for a short period of time or longer. Further development depends of various factors, such as developments with the currencies, the consumer mood in Europe and North America, the growth of fiber consumption in Asia and the raw material prices."

Rieter hasn't been hurt that much yet by the volatility of the strong Swiss Franc. However, the currency fluctuations reduced turnover for the first six months of 2011 by 4 percent and incoming orders by 7 percent. "Having the incoming orders in mind,", Thom said, "we managed to get acceptable prices in Swiss francs." The income and costs in Swiss francs are quite balanced. Years ago, Rieter opened its own production sites in main markets such as India and China. We are also present in the Euro zone and in the Czech Republic. Switzerland overall lost importance; allthough it is still an important site. All in all, we have a save hedging."

ITMA Barcelona
In Rieter's booth at ITMA, there will be about 70 people representing SYS and some 30 representing PTC. In July Rieter sent its customers a special invitation that was enclosed in its customer magazine, LINK. PTC also invited its customers to visit the booth through its customer magazine SPINNOVATION. On top of that, Rieter also sent out personal invitations.

What does Rieter as an exhibitor expect from ITMA? "Well, our previews for spun yarn systems have enjoyed quite a big interest, Thom said. "Our customers can now explore the advantages of each of the four spinning technologies just before the exhibits. Because we will have three world innovations live at the booth in Barcelona, we expect to see a lot of customers from the whole world."

"We're also looking forward to welcoming a lot of PTC customers in Barcelona," Spiridopulos added. "This will be the place to present our innovations, to start new projects and make some new business."

Questions about the future and Rieter's plans for the future were not answered. "We will answer all theses questions in Barcelona — come and see us," Thom said.

September 13, 2011