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LENZING – Revenues at wood-based fibre business, Lenzing, plummeted by 17 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 in comparison with the corresponding prior year to euro €466.3m. The business said the main reason for the fall was the impact of Covid-19, which has placed further downward pressure on already volatile prices for viscose.

“The prices for standard viscose dropped to a new all-time low of 9,150 RMB/ton by March 31 – up to 33 per cent lower than in the prior-year quarter,” said the company in a statement. “The comparatively positive development of the specialty fibre business and slightly higher demand for fibres in the medical and hygiene segments partially offset the decline in revenue.”

Lenzing said that measures to maintain operations and to protect employees, customers and suppliers have been implemented successfully, while a hygiene competence centre has been established to produce personal protective equipment in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Lenzing’s board has proposed not to distribute a dividend for 2019, and its AGM is rescheduled for June 18, 2020

“The COVID-19 crisis has a severe impact on the entire textile and apparel industry and has further increased the pressure on prices and volumes in the global fibre market. Lenzing held its ground in this extremely difficult market environment and continues to drive the implementation of its key projects in Brazil and Thailand,” said Stefan Doboczky, CEO of the Lenzing Group.

“To meet the strong demand for hygiene and protective products for the population and for medical personnel, we intensified the collaboration with partners along the value chain in the first quarter of 2020. Today we are proud that we have achieved our goal of an industrial production of high-quality protective masks together with our partner Palmers and have therefore been able to support Austria and Europe in combating the pandemic as best possible.”

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