MUMBAI, India — Reliance Industries, Ltd., India, has re-entered the contract FR fibers business for curtains, upholstery and carpets with its Recron® FS brand going toe to toe with Trevira®CS owned by partners Indorama Ventures and Sinterama.
Reliance says the worldwide polyester market is growing three to five percent a year and the global FR polyester market is estimated at nearly 50,000 tons. About 340 million square meters of FR textiles are sold annually with 1/3 of that geared to FR polyester according to Reliance. FS stands for Firesafe. Recron® FS is said to utilize a new technology which creates phosphorous levels above 6,500 ppm.
In January, 2017, Trevira told the press it did not have a growth year last year and the overall market for FR may have hit a wall but Reliance expects its new proprietary technology for Recron® FS will greatly impact the contract/hospitality design community.
“Reliance is coming after Trevira but Trevira is still charging a lot and reducing service levels,” says Dr. Ulrich Girrbach, consultant to Reliance Recron® FS.
“I spoke with many Trevira customers who are keen on a serious second player. The second player will be much fairer priced, highly committed to polyester, launch an improved product with a much better price yet offer similar quality of services,” he says.
“I don’t think Trevira has significantly grown the business much in the past eight years and the customer is asking for an alternative,” Girrbach continues. (Comments from Trevira management were not available at presstime but another story in F&FI will cover their response to RecronFS.)
The Recron® FS product line will be shown for the first time at MoOD. Recron® FS is said to be a whiter fiber and less expensive than Trevira according to Girrbach.
During the financial crisis in 2008, Trevira went bankrupt due to its heavy dependence on the automotive sector, according to Girrbach who originally built up the Trevira®CS and is now consulting with Reliance on Recron® FS. He was global marketing director for Hoechst Trevira from 1990-2008 but left prior to the bankruptcy phase. Ultimately, Indorama Ventures, a Bangkok, Thailand based company and Sinterama, an Italian polyester maker bought Trevira and is now trying to make money in the business. It has expanded operations in China and Turkey in the past few years and has reportedly maintained the European price levels for Trevira®CS even in China.
“Reliance is the largest player in the polyester world and is aiming at a very significant share of this market with all possible applications,” Girrbach adds.
“Reliance does not go for a small share—they go for the lion’s share.” F&FI