Startup Hygiene Austria starts production of face masks in U.K.
Posted May 20, 2020
LENZING, Austria – This month, the newly founded company Hygiene Austria started the production of face masks in Austria.
The product range includes mouth-nose safety masks, FFP2-masks as well as colored face masks for children.
“The aim of this joint venture is to provide the residents of Austria and Europe with the best possible protection through locally manufactured, high-quality and certified products,” said Stefan Doboczky, CEO of Lenzing. “The echo at the start was enormous: Numerous companies contacted us within just a few hours to place orders worth millions of euros.”
Hygiene Austria LP GmbH was established on April 24 by Lenzing AG and Palmers Textil AG as a hygiene competence center with the goal of fast and independent production of hygiene items at Palmers’ former production site in Wiener Neudorf, close to Vienna.
From the beginning, the founders of Hygiene Austria LP GmbH intended to supply protective solutions not only to Austrian citizens, but also abroad.
“The demand in the U.K. for protective masks is massively driven by the consequent handling of COVID-19,” said Tino Wieser, a member of the Board of Palmers. “The supply chain is complex and serving the U.K. market from Austria is costly.”
Managers therefore decided to implement the same approach as in Vienna.
“We pull up our sleeves, start organizing machinery and a well working raw material supply chain and commence producing face masks locally as soon as possible,” Wieser added.
Ranil Jayawardena, International Trade Minister, said: “Sourcing PPE for our frontline workers is a key priority for our government. Alongside our efforts in international procurement, it is excellent that we have been able to assist companies from overseas to invest in Britain too, leading to domestic production of vital supplies.”
As a production site, the Lenzing facilities in Grimsby, in the Yorkshire and Humber region, were the best option.
“We are eager to play a leading role to ensure the primary health care to the U.K. population as a key supplier teaming up with our National Health Service (NHS),” said Phil Munson, operations director at Grimsby. “Moreover, we can count on highly experienced service and maintenance personnel here in Grimsby.”
As in Austria, new jobs will be created in Grimsby as well. Munson estimated that within the next three months there will be approximately 60 new positions.
The set-up of Wiener Neudorf serves as a blue print for the production in Grimsby, and the gained experience will allow an even faster and smoother production start. At the site in Grimsby, first production machines will be installed in May in order to be able to start producing masks between end of May / beginning of June with a monthly capacity of 10 million pieces. Pittsburgh, Penn.-based law firm Reed Smith provided legal counsel on the incorporation of the subsidiary.