The company was formed in November 2007 following Owens Corning's sale of its glass fibre manufacturing plants in Battice, Belgium, and Birkeland, Norway, and in 2008 it was acquired by private equity firm Platinum Equity, which has invested in the business. Two and a half years on, 3B is in a good position, says Jean-Francois Santicoli, the company’s President: “We have demonstrated the credibility of our technology in the marketplace and have gone through a difficult financial time.”
Last year was very difficult, Hugues Jacquemin, CEO of 3B, tells Reinforced Plastics, but the company has come out of the economic crisis very strong financially. Its focus during the recession has been to invest, in both technology and people.
3B offers a range of high quality glass fibre products for the reinforcement of thermoset and thermoplastic resins. It uses the Advantex® boron-free glass and HiPer-tex™ high performance fibre technologies. The company’s focus is on finding areas where it can add value. Recent examples of this include a new agreement with Nanocyl to develop carbon nanotube-based sizing for glass fibre reinforcements, and a continuous filament mat designed to produce pultruded parts with a better cosmetic appearance.
Going forward, 3B’s strategy is focused on three business areas:
- wind energy; and
- a number of speciality areas where it can provide added value – ballistics, high pressure pipes, electric, transportation, pipe relining, and fibre optics.
The company also plans to globalise, supporting the growth of its global customers. This is likely to involve establishing manufacturing outside of Europe.