Bast Fibre Technologies Inc. (BFT), a manufacturer of premium natural fibers for the global nonwoven and textile industries, announced Tuesday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Lumberton Cellulose (LC), a natural fiber processing facility located in Lumberton, N.C., from Georgia-Pacific Cellulose LLC.
“Acquiring this state-of-the-art natural fiber processing facility and integrating the great team at Lumberton enables BFT to immediately establish North American manufacturing operations to meet the rapidly growing demand for our sustainable natural fibers,” BFT CEO and chairman Noel Hall said. “Following our recent acquisition of German-based fiber processor FVT, this is another key step in our long-term strategy of building significant, high-quality manufacturing capacity for our global customers supporting our core mission of ‘grow local, process local, sell local.’”
The purchase of LC builds on BFT’s existing relationship with Georgia-Pacific. In February 2020, BFT licensed a suite of patents relating to the use of bast fibers in a variety of nonwoven products and processes from Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products on a global, exclusive basis.
The LC facility is a highly automated producer of natural fibers for the personal care and hygiene markets. Ideally located to serve BFT’s North American customers, BFT plans to grow and invest in the operation, establishing LC as its flagship U.S. manufacturing site and opening new opportunities and markets for North American hemp and flax growers.
“This acquisition is a key strategic milestone in our mission to build out significant manufacturing capacity, while supporting the vast potential of North American-grown hemp and flax,” BFT president Jim Posa said. “Lumberton Cellulose is a top producer of quality fiber and with the current infrastructure and excellent, highly experienced team at Lumberton, we expect to significantly expand the facility’s production capabilities over the next few years.”
Posa said this acquisition will play an integral role in supporting North America’s transition away from plastic and manufactured cellulosic fibers and toward a more sustainable future.
“This acquisition is a good fit for our employees and our capabilities as we continue supplying current customers, including Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products, while growing and building additional bast fiber capacity and creating new customers,” Lumberton plant manager Chuck Oxendine said.
The final purchase will close in Bast Fibre Tech’s first fiscal quarter, subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.
Using advanced fiber processing technology, BFT transforms raw bast fibers from hemp and linen plants to meet the exacting standards required by nonwoven and textile customers. Bast crops are a high-biomass annual crop that can alleviate the growing pressure on global forest resources while absorbing carbon, revitalizing soils and preserving biodiversity.
Georgia-Pacific’s Lumberton Cellulose operation serves the cosmetic cotton, filtration, hygiene and nonwovens market segments. The facility employs approximately 25 people in five interconnected buildings of approximately 370,000 square feet on a 65-acre property.