LINWOOD, Pa.—Foamex International Inc. is selling its General Felt Industries Inc. subsidiary's needlepunch carpeting, tufted carpeting and artificial grass products businesses to Bretlin Inc. The move is part of the company's effort ``to focus on its core polyurethane and advanced polymer business,'' said Andrea Farace, Foamex Chairman and CEO.
According to Farace, the company is attempting to refocus its energies on five key markets for polyurethane foam markets: carpet cushioning; cushioning, including bedding; furniture; automotive; and technical applications, including gasketing and sealing. Foamex currently owns about 30 percent of the $3.5 billion market in those areas.
``We would like to see double-digit growth in sales,'' a company spokesman said.
``And we see the opportunities there with new product introductions and movement into international markets,'' he said.
The company currently is expanding into Asia, with a sales force in place in Bangkok, Thailand. ``We have spent less than 10 months up front time in Asia,'' the spokesman said. ``This will result in Asia sales in 1998, and the development of a production facility over there as well.''
The company plans a fabrication facility in Thailand next year and foaming capabilities down the road, the spokesman said.
``We are identifying the customer base and determining how we can service them,'' he said. ``We need to look at how to enter the market there in a controlled fashion.''
In addition to expanding into Asia, Foamex is looking into potential growth in Mexico.
The company also is working on reducing its cost structure as well. ``The business has completed two cost reduction processes, and we have reduced almost $50 million in costs,'' the spokesman said. ``We are now focusing on quality improvement and productivity.''