Lenzing

Lenzing AG, the Austrian cellulosic fiber giant, has extended the employment contract for Robert van de Kerkhof, chief commercial officer ahead of schedule for another three-year period.

The action was taken after a meeting of Lenzing’s supervisory board. The contract for van de Kerkhof, who has responsibility for marketing and sales at the $2 billion maker of such fibers as viscose, Tencel and modal, will begin in January.

The contract also includes his continued spot on Lenzing management board, which also includes chief executive officer Stefan Doboczky and chief financial officer Thomas Obendrauf.

“Since he started working for Lenzing AG in May 2014, Robert van de Kerkhof has played a significant role in the successful repositioning of Lenzing as a premium supplier on the global fiber market,” said Hanno Bästlein, chairman of the supervisory board of Lenzing AG. “We are very pleased that he has agreed to continue with Lenzing for another term of office.”

In August, Lenzing said it was investing $112 million toward expanding its production capacity for specialty fibers. The focus for the expansion is at the company’s manufacturing facilities in Heiligenkreuz and Lenzing, Austria. It also has manufacturing facilities in Mobile, Ala.; the Czech Republic, Indonesia and China, and a worldwide network of sales offices.

Lenzing struck a deal this summer with Inditex in which it will manufacture premium textile raw materials from textile waste generated by Inditex. The Spanish company will provide Lenzing with around 500 tons of textile waste for recycling into new materials and hopes to raise this to around 3,000 tons within a few years.

Lenzing significantly improved earnings in the first half of the year compared with the same period a year ago, with the fiber company crediting its new Score Ten group strategy and a focus on its eco-friendly specialty fibers.

Lenzing said consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization improved 54.3 percent to 195.1 million euros, or $220.25 million, boosting the EBITDA margin to 18.9 percent compared to the prior-year level of 13.2 percent.

Consolidated revenue in the first half rose 8.3 percent to 1.03 billion euros, or $1.16 billion, attributable to higher fiber selling prices and an “attractive product mix” compared to the first half of 2015.

Lenzing’s fiber sales volume in 2015 was 965,000 tons.

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