VICTORIA, BC – February 17, 2022 / Bast Fibre Technologies Inc. (BFT), a manufacturer of premium natural fibres, has completed its purchase of Georgia-Pacific’s Lumberton Cellulose LLC. The Lumberton, NC site is a highly automated state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with approximately 25 employees that will now operate under the new name of BFT Lumberton.
BFT plans to significantly expand capacity to over 30,000 tonnes per year, establishing BFT Lumberton as one of the largest fully integrated natural fibre processing parks in North America.
“As changes in consumer preferences and single-use plastics legislation drive demand for alternatives to synthetic fibres, consumer brand companies are seeking to manufacture products using fibre with minimal ecological impacts,” says BFT President Jim Posa. “The BFT Lumberton plant will produce all-natural, clean, soft, compostable fibres that are capable of displacing synthetics fibres in many nonwoven and textile applications and will bring valuable cleantech sector jobs to the local community.”
“We are very pleased to have a natural fiber supplier and INDA member bringing additional investment into the nonwovens industry and to North Carolina where we reside,” says Dave Rousse, President of the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA). “We wish BFT all the best with their plans in Lumberton.”
“BFT’s acquisition of the Lumberton facility is great news for the rapidly expanding North American hemp industry,” says Patrick Atagi, President and CEO of the National Industrial Hemp Council. “We’ve seen tremendous growth in demand for industrial hemp products made from the hemp stalk, particularly in construction and animal bedding. This facility provides confidence to domestic hemp growers and processors that there’s a reliable market for hemp fibres and a viable path towards whole-plant utilization.”
In addition to the planned capacity increase, the acquisition of the Lumberton facility diversifies BFT’s natural fibre offerings allowing entry into complementary product categories for cosmetic cotton, filtration, hygiene, and other nonwoven applications.
Lumberton Plant Manager Chuck Oxendine will continue in his role of overseeing the facility. “BFT’s commitment to natural fibre innovation meshes perfectly with our extensive technical production experience here at Lumberton,” says Oxendine. “With the acquisition complete, we will continue to provide excellent service to our current customers and begin work on the site expansion to build new bast fibre manufacturing capacity.”
“We are extremely pleased to have completed this acquisition and to establish Lumberton as our North American center of excellence,” says Noel Hall, BFT’s CEO and Executive Chair. “We look forward to working with the highly skilled team at BFT Lumberton as we move towards becoming a leader in the global production of truly sustainable natural fibres.”