With demand for its unique products soaring, Alcantara has completed the first phase of its 300-million euro expansion of its production facilities in Nera Montoro, Italy.
“The startup of these new facilities is an important, symbolic moment for us,” said Andrea Borgano, Alcantara CEO.
“It is confirmation of our intention to grow, the positioning of the brand accomplished over the years, and our ability to generate strong growth in demand for Alcantara. Since the investment will reduce energy consumption and environmental impact, Alcantara also is confirming its strong and serious commitment to sustainability.”
Alcantara has become the choice of designers working for top brands in a number of application fields: from fashion and accessories, interior design and home décor and consumer electronics.
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It is now widely used in automotive. During the recent Geneva Auto Show, Alcantara was featured on the interiors of cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini as well as Audi and Nissan.
The Alcantara Style Center offers solutions for personalizing car interiors with cuts, textures and treatments more possibilities when compared to other coverings, Alcantara executives said.
Designers must reconcile the need for beautiful, comfortable interiors with those of lightness and sustainability, especially for electric models. Alcantara is the ideal choice for satisfying these very different demands, like in the Audi Q4 e-tron, where Alcantara plain ice is combined with Alcantara plain beige, generating a play of tonal and volumetric contrasts.
Nissan presented the IMq concept car, the future of Nissan’s electric crossovers. The interior is almost entirely covered in two shades of grey Alcantara, a darker tone for the pavilion and an ice grey for the lower part of the dashboard, seats, steering wheel, doors and numerous details.
To decorate the interior of this concept car, the Nissan designers interpret the material with a two-tone 3D process inspired by the geometric designs of traditional Japanese kumiko woodworking by overlapping two shades of different materials, using lasers to create a repeating motif that visually ties the seats to the dashboard and glove box, like a hi-tech embroidery.
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The five-year expansion program is expected to double Alcantara’s production capacity to meet strong global demand for its luxury material.
Akihiro Nikkaku, chairman, CEO and COO of Alcanatara’s parent company, Toray Industries Inc., said the expansion of the fiber, felt and utilities departments will allow for a 15 to 20% increase in production capacity to come online during the second half of 2019.
Employment at Alcantara’s Nero Montoro facilities has increased 12.7%. When completed in 2023, overall employment at the expanded facilities will reach 800 people, a 35% increase. New hires will include researchers, process engineers and technicians specializing in sustainability, safety and environment, quality and energy recovery.
Alcantara in nine years has seen its sales grow by more than 200% – from 64.3 million euros (2009) to 197 million euros (to March 31, 2018) including significant growth abroad, which now accounts for 90% of annual revenues. Alcantara’s sales are generated 10% in Italy and 50% in the rest of Europe, with strong growth in Japan, China, Korea, and the United States, where the value of “Made in Italy” is highly valued.
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Alcantara has focused 3% of its revenues, or 5.9 million euros, on product research. Estimated sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, are 204 million euros, with an operating profit estimated at 50.5 million euros.