Foamex International Inc.'s new partnership with Brussels, Belgium-based Recticel SA allows both firms to follow their auto customers across the Atlantic without substantial investment. Linwood, Pa.-based Foamex, a maker of polyurethane foam for auto interior uses, and Recticel announced on June 19 a joint contract to design, manufacture and market PU auto products.
If a Recticel customer needs a Recticel product in the United States, Foamex will be able to produce it, said Peter Lindgren, Foamex vice president of sales and marketing for automotive. But in the short term, Lindgren said, Foamex will concentrate on getting its products into Europe, where it does not have facilities. It also will focus on U.S.-based customers - such as Lear Corp. and Johnson Controls Inc. - who are expanding.
``The fundamental purpose of this agreement is to give us a global presence,'' Lindgren said.
With this arrangement, Foamex does not need to invest in a new European organization.
``We have the capability and capacity to complement each other,'' he said.
Under the agreement, Recticel and Foamex will remain independent firms, and for now will not make capital investments at each other's facilities, Lindgren said.
The companies jointly will provide Tier 1 and 2 suppliers with products for automotive carpet systems, including roll goods, energy-absorbing foams, foams for headliners and acoustical foam components.
The firms will use Foamex's surface modification technology.
Lindgren said revenue from a Foamex sale of a Recticel foam product probably will go to Foamex; however, details of the alliance still need to be worked out.
Last year, Recticel and Johnson Controls Inc. formed a joint venture in Germany for molded foam. Lindgren said his company, which does not make molded foam, will be able to complement that joint venture with its headliner foams and interior laminates and foams.