Xerium Technologies, Inc. (XRM) - Description of business

Company Description
Overview We are a leading global manufacturer and supplier of two categories of consumable products used primarily in the production of paper—clothing and roll covers. We market our products through the following industry-recognized brands: Brand    Product Category    Geographic Region Huyck    Clothing    Worldwide other than North America Wangner    Clothing    Worldwide other than North America Weavexx    Clothing    North America Stowe Woodward    Roll Covers    Worldwide Mount Hope    Spreader Rolls    Worldwide Robec    Spreader Rolls    Europe Our products are installed on paper-making machines and play key roles in the process by which raw materials are converted into finished paper. A fundamental characteristic of our products is that they wear down over time in the paper production process and must be regularly replaced. As of December 31, 2006, we have an extensive global footprint of 35 manufacturing facilities in 15 countries, strategically located in the major paper-producing regions of North America, Europe, South America and Asia-Pacific, and have approximately 3,800 employees worldwide. We market our products, primarily using our direct sales force, to the paper industry’s leading producers. In 2006, we generated net sales of $601.4 million. The consumable nature of our products positions us to make recurring sales to our customers, and accordingly the number of paper machines in operation throughout the world and the volume of paper and board produced globally each year are primary drivers of the demand for our product. Paper-making machines utilize different processes and have different requirements depending on the design of the machine, the raw materials used, the type of paper being made and the preferences of individual production managers. We employ our broad portfolio of patented and proprietary product and manufacturing technologies, as well as our extensive industry experience, to provide our customers with tailored solutions designed to optimize the performance of their equipment and reduce the costs of their operations. Our clothing products are highly engineered synthetic textile belts that transport paper as it is processed on a paper-making machine. Clothing plays a significant role in the forming, pressing and drying stages of paper production. Our clothing segment represented 64% of our 2006 net sales. Roll cover products cover the rolls on a paper-making machine, which are the large steel cylinders over which clothing is mounted and between which the paper travels as it is processed. Our roll covers provide a surface with the mechanical properties necessary to process the paper sheet in a cost-effective manner that delivers the sheet qualities desired by the paper producer. We currently use over 500 compounds in our roll cover manufacturing process. Our roll cover segment represented 36% of our 2006 net sales. Our products are in constant contact with the paper stock during the manufacturing process through which the stock is processed into finished paper. As a result, our products have a significant effect on paper quality and the ability of a paper producer to differentiate its products, two factors which are increasingly important to paper producers. In addition, while clothing and roll covers represent only approximately 2%, on average, of a paper producer’s production costs, they can help a paper producer improve productivity and reduce overall costs. Our clothing and roll covers facilitate the paper producer’s use of less expensive raw materials (including recycled fiber), ability to run paper-making machines faster and with fewer interruptions, and ability to decrease the amount of energy required in the expensive drying portion of the paper-making process. We have found that, in certain cases, our products and services provide paper producers with cost savings that substantially offset the costs of such products and services. We estimate that there are approximately 7,700 paper-making machines worldwide, all of which require a regular supply of clothing and roll covers. Clothing and roll covers must be replaced regularly to sustain high quality paper output and operate efficiently. Roll covers also require regular refurbishment, a service that we provide to our customers. Paper producers must typically replace clothing multiple times per year, replace roll covers every two to five years and refurbish roll covers several times between each replacement. We have a reputation for technological innovation in the paper-making industry. We pioneered a number of technologies that have become industry standards. These include, in our clothing business, synthetic forming fabrics (which replaced bronze wire technology), double-layer forming fabrics, laminated press felts and, most recently, triple-layer forming fabrics. In our roll covers business, these include press release roll covers (which replaced the granite products used previously), tissue machine press rolls, coater roll covers and the use of nanotechnology and real time nip impression and nip sensing in our roll covers business. Our portfolio of patented and proprietary product and manufacturing technologies differentiates our product offerings from others in the market and allows us to deliver high value products and services to our customers. We currently have approximately 220 domestic and foreign patents and approximately 180 pending patent applications. Our patents and patent applications cover approximately 85 different inventions. We currently license certain of our patents or technologies to some of our competitors, which we believe helps further demonstrate our technological leadership in the industry. We believe that the technological sophistication of our products and the capital-intensive nature of our business present significant challenges to any potential new competitors in our field. Our business was organized in 1999 in connection with the acquisition of the paper technology group of Invensys plc. We completed our initial public offering and a reorganization on May 19, 2005. In connection with the offering, we entered into a $750 million credit facility agreement and repaid $752.5 million of principal and interest on the previously existing senior bank debt, mezzanine bank debt and certain non-interest bearing shareholder notes. Business Strategy The primary components of our business strategy are: Focus on Delivering Value to Our Customers.  We continually seek to improve our existing products and introduce innovative new products and services in order to help our customers increase their productivity and reduce their overall costs. Our objective is to deliver value to our customers that substantially offsets the cost of our products and we rely on our strengths in technological innovation and our close working relationships with our customers. Enhance Profitability by Increasing Sales of More Technologically Advanced Products.  We have sought to maximize our margins and profitability by focusing our production and marketing efforts on higher value-added, technologically advanced products such as press felts and forming fabrics. Although we intend to continue to offer the full range of product offerings in order to meet our customers’ needs, we expect to continue to focus our efforts on products and areas that we believe have the potential to yield the highest growth and profitability and increase our investment on the development of new technologies that can further differentiate our product offerings. Expand Sales and Profitability by Expanding Our Sales of Roll Covers and Clothing Products as An Integrated Package.  We believe that paper producers are currently seeking to work with a smaller number of capable suppliers. Our strategy is to leverage our technological expertise, global footprint and strong presence in both the roll cover and clothing product areas to present an integrated package of products and services to our customers that differentiates us from suppliers that do not provide such an offering. Pursue Disciplined Expansion in High Growth Regions.  In addition to maintaining our leadership position in the more mature paper markets of North America and Western Europe, we expect to continue to expand our market presence in the less mature, higher growth regions of South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. While we expect that overall paper industry growth will help support our business objectives, and that the North American and Western European markets will continue to represent a substantial majority of our business, the less mature paper markets represent a significant growth opportunity. We believe that we are well-positioned to capitalize on the expected growth in these markets due to our global market position, technological innovation and key relationships with leading paper producers in such markets. Continue to Reduce Costs through Productivity Improvements.  We have a successful record of improving our productivity through cost reduction programs and other productivity initiatives. Our management team has successfully identified and pursued a number of cost-savings opportunities throughout our global manufacturing and operational base, and we believe that we have the potential to further improve productivity and reduce costs. We may incur additional restructuring expenses in connection with these opportunities. We believe that potential to improve productivity includes the opportunities to enhance our manufacturing efficiency by improving our process yields and cycle times, and to increase investment in advanced process development activities focused in these areas. Selectively Pursue Strategic Acquisitions and Other Growth Opportunities.  We expect to selectively pursue strategic acquisitions, partnerships or alliances that we believe have the potential to expand our product offerings and improve our competitiveness. In addition, we believe that we have opportunities to grow our existing businesses through new product innovations, expansion of our product offering, selective investments in new production equipment or facilities and other initiatives. Products We operate through two principal business segments, clothing and roll covers. Our clothing segment products include various types of clothing used on paper-making machines and, to a limited extent, used in other industrial applications. Through our roll covers segment, we manufacture various types of roll covers, refurbish previously installed roll covers, provide mechanical services for the internal mechanisms of rolls used on paper-making machines and manufacture spreader rolls. For a presentation of financial information about our clothing and roll covers segments, please see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Note 17 to the accompanying audited consolidated financial statements. Clothing Products Our clothing segment products are large, highly engineered synthetic textile belts that transport paper as it is processed on a paper-making machine from paper stock into finished paper. Because all paper-making machines have different physical configurations and operating parameters, clothing products must be tailored to each machine. Clothing generally ranges in size from approximately 3 feet to over 30 feet wide and 24 feet to more than 460 feet long and operates on paper-making machines that run at speeds up to 7,500 feet per minute. We typically sell clothing products for between $13,000 and $45,000 per unit, although we sell some of our more sophisticated forming fabrics for up to $200,000 per unit. We manufacture the three general types of clothing products used on paper-making machines—forming fabrics, press felts and dryer fabrics—each of which is located in a different section of a machine. Forming fabrics and press felts are typically replaced multiple times a year, but replacement frequency varies significantly by the grade of paper being produced, the manner in which the paper-making machine is operated and the quality of raw materials used in the paper stock. Dryer fabrics are replaced less frequently, with replacement typically taking place no more than once per year. Forming fabrics . Forming fabrics are used at the head of paper-making machines, where highly diluted paper stock is deposited on the forming fabric while the fabric is traveling at a very high speed. Forming fabrics allow water to drain from the paper stock, which creates an initial wet sheet. Forming fabrics must be porous enough to allow water to drain evenly but tight enough to retain and align the fiber and other materials that form the sheet of paper. They must also be strong enough to withstand high mechanical stresses. Forming fabrics are custom-manufactured in single, double, and triple layer designs in a variety of meshes to suit particular machines and paper grades. Customers are increasingly demanding the higher-priced triple layer designs that remove more moisture and produce higher quality paper. In 2006, forming fabrics accounted for approximately 46% of net sales in our clothing segment. Press felts . Press felts are used to carry the paper sheet through a series of press rolls that mechanically press water from the sheet under high pressure. Press felts are designed to maximize water removal, which reduces the amount of water that must be removed during the expensive energy-intensive drying section of the production process. Press felts must maximize water removal while maintaining the orientation of the fibers and the consistency of the thickness of the paper, without removing chemicals or fillers from the paper. Press felts differ from forming fabrics and dryer fabrics due to the addition of several layers of staple fiber that are needled into the fabric base. The staple fiber provides a smooth surface to meet the wet sheet of paper and creates a wicking effect to remove water from the paper sheet as it is pressed under high pressure between press rolls. Press felts are manufactured in a variety of designs, including lightweight single layer felts, multi-layer laminated endless felts and seamed felts that allow for reduced installation times. In 2006, press felts accounted for approximately 37% of net sales in our clothing segment. Dryer fabrics . Dryer fabrics are used to transport the paper sheet through the drying section of paper-making machines, where high temperatures from large, steam-heated dryer cylinders evaporate the remaining moisture from the paper sheet. Dryer fabrics, which are less technically advanced than forming fabrics or press felts, are woven from heat-resistant yarns with a coarser mesh than forming fabrics. In 2006, dryer fabrics accounted for approximately 6% of net sales in our clothing segment. Industrials and Other . We also manufacture other types of clothing used in other industrial applications, such as steel, plastics, leather and textiles manufacturing. In 2006, sales for such industrial applications accounted for 10% of net sales in our clothing segment. We also manufacture auto-joining equipment and, until its sale in the third quarter of 2006, dewatering devices used on paper-making machines. Sales of auto-joining equipment and dewatering devices accounted for approximately 1% of net sales in our clothing segment in 2006. New Clothing Products.  In recent years, we have focused our research and development efforts on higher-value-added, technologically advanced products, such as forming fabrics and press felts, which offer paper producers the greatest potential for differentiating their products through quality improvements and for increasing their operating efficiency. Our research and development efforts have resulted in several innovative new forming fabric and press felt products, including a number of high performance products, such as triple layer forming fabrics, that we expect paper producers to purchase and use on high performance paper-making machines. In addition, we have developed new clothing products aimed at segments of the paper-making process that we have not historically served, such as the growing market for shoe press belts and other clothing products designed for use in the technologically-advanced press section of a paper-making machine. Roll Covers Products and Services In our roll covers segment, the majority of our sales are generated through the manufacture of roll covers. We also refurbish previously installed roll covers, provide general mechanical maintenance and repair services for the internal mechanisms of rolls and manufacture spreader rolls. Roll covers . We manufacture, refurbish and replace covers for three kinds of rolls on paper-making machines: working rolls (including vacuum rolls and press rolls), calendar rolls and coater rolls. There can be up to 200 such rolls in a typical paper-making machine. These metal rolls, which can be up to 39 feet long, 6 feet in diameter and weigh 500 to 140,000 pounds, are covered with an exterior layer of rubber, polyurethane, composite or ceramic, each of which is designed for use in a particular phase of the paper-making process. Roll covers operate in temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, under pressures up to 1,400 pounds per square inch and at speeds up to 7,500 feet per minute. Roll covers are typically replaced every two to five years. Roll cover replacement is performed at the supplier’s manufacturing facility, which necessitates removing the roll from the paper-making machine, transporting it to the supplier’s site and using a spare in the interim. In general, each roll on a paper-making machine is unique due to its dimensions, specific design and cover material, and therefore not interchangeable with other rolls. Because of their large size, paper producers generally maintain only one spare roll for each position on a paper-making machine. It is important that the roll cover replacement be completed quickly, because a malfunction of the spare roll could render the paper-making machine inoperable. Due to the large size and weight of a roll, the transportation to and from a supplier’s site can be costly and is often subject to regulations on road use that restrict available routes and times of travel, and that may require safety escorts. Round-trip transcontinental travel can take several weeks and intercontinental travel is rare. We offer an extensive network of manufacturing facilities worldwide, often in close proximity to our customers, which we believe is a significant competitive advantage. We typically sell roll covers for between $1,000 per roll ( e.g. , for a small installed rubber roll cover) and $300,000 per roll ( e.g. , for a large installed polyurethane cover). Sales of roll covers accounted for approximately 64% of our total sales in our roll covers segment in 2006. Roll Cover Refurbishment Services and Mechanical Services . Roll covers are typically refurbished several times over the two to five years they are in service before needing to be replaced. Refurbishment typically includes the regrinding of the roll cover to standard specifications and inspecting the bearings and other mechanical components of the roll. As with roll cover replacement, refurbishment is performed at the supplier’s manufacturing facility. Similar to the paper producer’s selection of a roll cover supplier, the selection of a refurbishment provider is influenced by the time and expense of transporting a roll cover. We believe our extensive network of manufacturing facilities worldwide is a significant competitive advantage. Refurbishment services typically cost between $1,000 for minor roll repairs and $50,000 for a complete overhaul on certain press rolls. We offer a wide range of mechanical maintenance and repair services for the internal mechanisms of rolls. Paper producers are increasingly finding it economical to have the company that refurbishes or replaces a roll cover also perform work on the internal roll mechanisms at the same time, which avoids having multiple suppliers and incurring additional time and transportation charges. We began performing such services to meet the demands of our customers and attempt to gain a competitive advantage. We provide major mechanical services at ten locations around the world and we are expanding to additional locations. Roll cover refurbishment services and mechanical services accounted for approximately 14% of our total sales in our roll covers segment in 2006. Spreader rolls . We manufacture and repair spreader rolls, which are small-diameter curved rolls used throughout a paper-making machine to stretch, smooth and remove wrinkles from the paper and clothing. There are approximately five to seven spreader rolls in a typical paper-making machine. We typically sell spreader rolls for between $1,000 and $200,000 per roll. We also rebuild and overhaul existing spreader rolls, typically for between $1,000 and $100,000 per roll. Sales of spreader rolls and related services accounted for approximately 22% of our total sales in our roll covers segment in 2006. In 2006, net sales to the paper-making industry accounted for approximately 92% of our total sales in our roll covers segment. Paper producers accounted for approximately 82% of net sales, and paper-making machine manufacturers accounted for approximately 10% of net sales. Sales for use in other industrial applications, including steel, plastics, leather and textiles manufacturing, accounted for the remaining 8% of our net sales in our roll covers segment. New Roll Products.  We have introduced a number of innovations to our roll cover and spreader roll products in recent years, including composite calendar roll covers that use nanoparticle technology to improve roll cover durability and paper gloss, as well as covers that use an improved polyurethane to increase abrasion and moisture resistance as well as responsiveness and stability. Customers We supply leading paper producers worldwide. We also supply clothing products to the two major paper-making machine manufacturers, Voith AG and Metso Corporation. Our top ten customers accounted for 25% of net sales in 2006 and individually, no customer accounted for more than 5% of 2006 net sales. In 2006, 41% of our net sales was in North America, 36% was in Europe, 8% was in South America, 13% was in Asia-Pacific and 2% was in the rest of the world. Competition Our largest competitors are Albany International Corporation (a publicly-owned U.S. company), which supplies clothing products, Voith AG (a privately-owned German company), which supplies both clothing and roll products and Metso Corporation (a publicly-owned Finnish company), which supplies roll products. We also face competition from smaller regional suppliers. Voith and Metso are the leading manufacturers of paper-making machines and entered the roll covers market through acquisitions. We compete primarily based on the value and price of our products. Competition with respect to both clothing and roll covers, particularly as it relates to our technologically advanced forming fabrics, press felts and roll covers, is based primarily on the value that the products deliver to the paper producer through the ability of such products to reduce production costs and improve paper quality. Competition in the clothing and roll covers market is also based on a supplier’s ability to deliver engineering and technical services. Many paper producers have been reducing their in-house engineering and technical staff and increasingly expect their suppliers to provide such services. While smaller suppliers often lack the resources necessary to invest in and provide this level of engineering and technical service, we have made investments in order to provide the following services to the paper producers: specialist advice and resident engineers, installation support, on-call “trouble-shooting” and performance monitoring and analysis of paper-making machines. In the roll covers market, competition is also based on a supplier’s proximity to the paper producer’s facilities, which affects the transportation time and expense associated with refurbishing or replacing a roll cover, and on the supplier’s ability to provide mechanical services to a roll’s internal mechanisms while the roll cover is being refurbished or replaced. We offer an extensive network of facilities throughout the world and provide mechanical services at ten locations. Research and Development Our continuing ability to deliver value depends on developing product innovations. As we create new and improved products we often obtain patent protection for our innovations, which is indicative of our technical capabilities and creativity. Although we do not consider any single patent to be material to our business, we believe that, in the aggregate, our patents and other intellectual property provide us with a competitive advantage. We currently have approximately 220 domestic and foreign patents outstanding and approximately 180 pending patent applications. Our patents and patent applications cover approximately 85 different inventions. Some of our competitors license our technology from us in exchange for royalty payments, although such licensing does not represent a material amount of our business. Production Clothing Production Process The following diagram represents the clothing production process. The clothing production process begins with the spinning of synthetic fiber threads to produce yarn, which is then twisted in preparation for the manufacturing of clothing. Yarn, which is sometimes purchased as a raw material, is then wound on large spools prior to installation on the loom. The yarn is drawn through needles in preparation for weaving. With the yarn prepared for weaving, a weave pattern can be installed in the loom controller. The nature of the weave pattern is critical to how the clothing performs in the paper-making process. The yarn is then woven to the desired length. Technological advancements have resulted in weaving becoming an almost entirely automated process. Following weaving, the two ends are permanently joined to form a continuous loop of clothing. Although significant automation has occurred in the joining process, it remains the most labor intensive of the clothing production process. Press felts then undergo a process that is not necessary for forming and dryer fabrics. An additional layer of fibers is added to the outside surface with the use of an advanced needling machine, such that a very smooth felt surface is created. All clothing then undergoes heat setting and chemical treating. Heat setting tightens the clothing giving it the necessary mechanical properties for the paper-making process. Finally, the clothing is meticulously inspected prior to being shipped to the customer. Roll Cover Production Process The following diagram represents the roll covering production process. The covering on the rolls used in the paper-making process wear over time and must be periodically replaced for the roll to function properly. Rolls are removed from the paper-making machine and taken to an offsite facility for re-covering. During this time, a spare roll is placed in the machine to enable continuous operations. The first step of the roll covering process is the removal of the old cover. A lathe and belt grinder are used to remove the old cover, exposing the roll shell. The shell is cleaned with a pressure washer and blasted with solid particles to increase the shell’s surface area for bonding of the new cover. Following the blasting process, the shell is ready to be re-covered. The shell is then coated with proprietary bonding agents that affix the new roll cover to the shell. Each type of cover material is applied with a different process. Rubber and composite covers are extruded in a slow spinning lathe. Polyurethane covers are typically cast on the core using a mold, and ceramic covering is expelled onto the shell at high pressure. Following application of the core material, the cover undergoes a curing process. Rubber covers are cured for 12 to 28 hours in vulcanizers under high temperature and pressure, whereas polyurethane and composite materials are cured in a hot air oven. After curing, the roll cover is ground with belts and grinding stones. A proprietary pattern of holes and grooves is then drilled into the cover to aid in water removal. Finally, the roll is balanced for proper spinning motion and meticulously checked for quality before being returned to the customer. The roll cover production process is capital intensive and requires a variety of equipment, including lathes, belt grinders, polyurethane casting molds (for polyurethane roll covers), extruders, mix stations, vulcanizers, ovens and balancing equipment. Employees As of December 31, 2006 we had 3,821 employees worldwide, of which 2,958 were manufacturing employees, 463 were sales and marketing employees, 76 were in research and development and 324 were administrative and other employees. As of December 31, 2006, 2,848 of our employees are subject to protection as members of trade unions or various collective bargaining agreements, primarily outside of the United States. We believe that we have good relations with our employees’ trade unions and labor unions and we have not experienced any material labor disputes. Our Corporate Information We are subject to the information requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). Therefore, we file periodic reports, proxy statements, and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Such reports, proxy statements, and other information may be obtained by visiting the Public Reference Room of the SEC at 450 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20549 or by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. In addition, the SEC maintains an Internet site at http://www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically. We maintain a website at www.xerium.com to provide information to the general public and our shareholders on our products and services, along with general information on Xerium. We make our periodic and current reports available, free of charge, on our web site as soon as reasonably practicable after these reports are filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. Our corporate code of business conduct and ethics, our corporate governance guidelines, and the charters of each of the committees of our board of directors are also made available, free of charge, on our website. Our corporate code of business conduct and ethics, which includes our code of ethics, and related waivers (if any) are posted on our website. Copies of these documents may be obtained, free of charge, by writing Investor Relations, Xerium Technologies, Inc., One Technology Drive, Westborough, Massachusetts 01581, or telephoning us at 508-532-1790. ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS We may occasionally make forward-looking statements and estimates such as forecasts and projections of our future performance or statements of our plans and objectives. These forward-looking statements may be contained in, among other things, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including this Annual Report on Form 10-K, press releases made by us and in oral statements made by our officers. Actual results could differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ from those contained in such forward-looking statements include, among other things, the risks described below. Risks Relating to our Business and the Industry A sustained downturn in the paper industry could adversely affect our revenues and profitability. Demand for our products depends primarily on the volume of paper produced on a worldwide basis. The profitability of paper producers has historically been highly cyclical due to wide swings in the price of paper, driven to a high degree by the oversupply of paper during periods when paper producers have more aggregate capacity than the market requires. A sustained downturn in the paper industry, either globally or in a particular region, can cause paper manufacturers to reduce production or cease operations, which could adversely affect our revenues and profitability. Paper producers began in 2000 to take actions that seek to structurally improve the balance between the supply of and demand for paper. As part of these efforts, they have shut down many paper-making machines. Between 2001 and 2004 the bulk of these closures occurred in North America and announcements by paper producers for shutdowns of paper-making machines in North America have continued, although at a reduced level compared to 2001 through 2004. In 2005 and 2006, there was an increase in the number of planned shutdowns of paper-making machines in Europe, although not at the level experienced in recent years in North America. During 2005 and 2006, the sales and profitability of our North American and European operations were adversely affected by these shutdowns. Papermakers continue to experience low levels of profitability, and we believe that further consolidation among papermakers, reducing the number of paper producers, and shutdowns of paper-making machines will occur in Europe and North America until there is a better balance between supply and demand for paper and the profit levels of paper producers improve. We may be required to reorganize our operations in response to changing conditions in the paper industry, and such actions may require significant expenditures and may not be successful. In the past few years, we have undertaken various restructuring measures in response to changing market conditions in the paper industry triggered by the decline in paper prices that began in 2001. For example, between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2006, we incurred costs of approximately $45.6 million, in addition to $16.5 million for capital expenditures, in connection with our cost reduction programs, including the closure of eight manufacturing facilities worldwide. We may engage in additional cost reduction programs in the future. We may not recoup the costs of programs we have already initiated, or other programs we may decide to engage in the future, the costs of which may be significant. We experienced added operating costs resulting from shifting production from North American closed facilities to other facilities which adversely impacted our cost of sales by approximately $3.5 million and $6.4 million in 2006 and 2005, respectively. In the last quarter of 2006, we experienced added operating costs of $1.5 million in a European facility as the final stages of the shift of production from the closed facility were completed. In connection with any future plant closures, delays or failures in the transition of production from a closed facility to our other facilities could also adversely affect our financial operations. In addition, our profitability may decline if our restructuring efforts do not sufficiently reduce our future costs while at the same time positioning us to maintain or increase our sales. We also expect to implement cost reduction programs in 2007 designed to improve our fixed overhead structure. We expect to incur significant restructuring expenses in 2007 in connection with our presently contemplated cost reduction efforts. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Cost Reduction Programs” Fluctuations in currency exchange rates could adversely affect our revenues, profitability and compliance with our debt covenants. Our foreign operations expose us to fluctuations in currency exchange rates and currency devaluations. We report our financial results in U.S. Dollars, but a substantial portion of our sales and expenses are denominated in Euros and other currencies. As a result, changes in the relative values of U.S. Dollars, Euros and these other currencies will affect our levels of revenues and profitability. If the value of the U.S. Dollar increases relative to the value of the Euro and these other currencies, our levels of revenue and profitability will decline since the translation of a certain number of Euros or units of such other currencies into U.S. Dollars for financial reporting purposes will represent fewer U.S. Dollars.In addition, in the case of sales to customers in certain locations, our sales are denominated in U.S. Dollars or Euros but all or a substantial portion of our associated costs are denominated in a different currency. As a result, changes in the relative values of U.S. Dollars, Euros and any such different currency will affect our profitability. Although in certain circumstances we attempt to hedge our exposure to fluctuations in currency exchange rates, our hedging strategies may not be effective. In addition, our credit facility contains financial covenants that require us to maintain a minimum interest coverage ratio, a maximum leverage ratio and a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio. Our ability to comply with these covenants will depend in part upon our reported financial results, which as indicated above are directly affected by currency fluctuations. For example, in the event the value of the U.S. Dollar increases relative to the Euro and other currencies in which we conduct business (and ignoring any other changes affecting our financial performance), the amount of our Adjusted EBITDA will decline. Since each of the financial ratio covenants in our credit facility is calculated by reference to the amount of our Adjusted EBITDA, currency fluctuations alone could lower the amount of our Adjusted EBITDA and therefore affect our ability to remain in compliance with our financial ratio covenants. In addition, we have certain indebtedness denominated in foreign currencies. A decline in the value of the U.S. Dollar relative to these other currencies will result in an increase in the reported amount of our indebtedness when the amount of such indebtedness is translated into U.S. Dollars for financial reporting purposes. Since the leverage ratio calculated under our credit facility increases based upon the amount of our reported indebtedness, a decline in the value of the U.S. Dollar may result in our failure to maintain a leverage ratio below the maximum levels provided for in our credit facility. In summary, even if our results of operations meet our expectations when viewed in local currencies, we may not be able to satisfy the financial covenants in our credit facility as a result of currency fluctuations alone. If we are not in compliance with such covenants, we will be in default under or credit facility and will be prohibited by the terms of the credit facility from paying dividends and the lender may call the debt. Our credit facility limits the payment of dividends in a fiscal quarter to a specified percentage of our pre-dividend free cash flow (as defined in our credit facility) for the four fiscal quarters ended immediately prior to such quarter. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Credit Facility.” The amount of our pre-dividend free cash flow depends on the reported amounts of our Adjusted EBITDA and other financial items which may be affected by currency fluctuations. Accordingly, even if currency fluctuations do not result in our failure to satisfy the financial covenants contained in our credit facility, such fluctuations may limit the amount of dividends we are permitted to pay. Dividend payments on our common stock are to be paid in U.S. Dollars. We do not expect to generate sufficient cash flows denominated in U.S. Dollars to make such payments and will therefore rely, in part, on the conversion to U.S. Dollars of cash flows generated in other currencies. The amount of U.S. Dollars received from the conversion of cash flows generated in other currencies will depend on the then-current exchange rates. If the value of the U.S. Dollar increases relative to the value of these other currencies, the cash flows will represent fewer U.S. Dollars. As a result, even if our results of operations meet our expectations in local currencies and we are permitted to pay dividends under our credit facility, we may not have sufficient cash to pay such dividends. For additional information about the risks associated with fluctuations in currency exchange rates, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Foreign Exchange.” Increased price competition in our industry could adversely affect our gross margins and net sales. Historically, we and our competitors have been able to sell clothing and roll covers products and services at favorable prices that reflect the value they deliver to customers. This favorable pricing has been particularly available for our more technologically advanced products, such as forming fabrics, press felts and roll covers. In 2006, the financial health of our customers and continued pricing pressure from our competitors required us to reduce prices in some cases, eliminate or decrease the size of proposed price increases in other cases, resulting in marginal price decreases in both of our business segments. Further pricing pressure from our competitors may require further price decreases or make us unable to effect planned price increases, which adversely affect our profitability. Our industry is competitive and our future success will depend on our ability to effectively develop and market competitive products. The paper-making consumables industry is highly competitive. Some of our competitors are larger than us, have greater financial and other resources and are well-established as suppliers to the markets we serve. In addition, some of our competitors also manufacture paper-making machines and have the ability to initially package sales of their clothing and roll cover products with the sale of their machines and/or to tie the warranties on their machines to the use of their clothing and roll cover products. Our products may not be able to compete successfully with the products of our competitors, which could result in a loss of customers and, as a result, decreased sales and profitability. We compete primarily based on the value our products deliver to our customers. Our value proposition is based on a combination of price and the technology and performance of our products, including the ability of our products to help reduce our customers’ production costs and increase the quality of the paper they produce. Our competitors could develop new technology or products that lead to a reduced demand for our products. In addition, our business depends on our customers regularly needing to replace the clothing and roll covers used on their paper-making machines. Either we or our competitors could develop new technologies that increase the useful life of clothing or roll covers, which could reduce the frequency with which our customers would need to replace their clothing and refurbish or replace their roll covers, and consequently lead to fewer sales. Because we have substantial operations outside the United States, we are subject to the economic and political conditions of foreign nations. We have manufacturing facilities in 14 foreign countries. In 2006, we sold products in approximately 63 countries other than the United States, which represented approximately 70% of our net sales. Our foreign operations are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including risks that:   •   foreign governments may impose limitations on our ability to repatriate funds;   •   foreign governments may impose withholding or other taxes on remittances and other payments to us, or the amount of any such taxes may increase;   •   an outbreak or escalation of any insurrection or armed conflict may occur; or   •   foreign governments may impose or increase investment barriers or other restrictions affecting our business. The occurrence of any of these conditions could disrupt our business in particular countries or regions of the world, or prevent us from conducting business in particular countries or regions, which could adversely affect our revenues and profitability. In addition, as a holding company we will rely on dividends and other payments or distributions from our subsidiaries to meet our debt obligations and enable us to pay dividends. If foreign governments impose limitations on our ability to repatriate funds or impose or increase taxes on remittances or other payments to us, the amount of dividends and other distributions we receive from our subsidiaries could be reduced, which could reduce the amount of cash available to us to meet our debt obligations and pay dividends. We must continue to innovate and improve our products to maintain our competitive advantage. Our ability to retain our customers and increase our business depends on our ability to continually develop new, technologically superior products. We cannot assure that our investments in technological development will be sufficient, that we will be able to create and market new products or that we will be successful in competing against new technologies developed by competitors. The loss of our major customers could have a material adverse effect on our sales and profitability. Our top ten customers generated 25% of our net sales during 2006. The loss of one or more of our major customers, or a substantial decrease in such customers’ purchases from us, could have a material adverse effect on our sales and profitability. Because we do not generally have binding long-term purchasing agreements with our customers, there can be no assurance that our existing customers will continue to purchase products from us. We may fail to adequately protect our proprietary technology, which would allow competitors or others to take advantage of our research and development efforts. We rely upon trade secrets, proprietary know-how, and continuing technological innovation to develop new products and remain competitive. If our competitors learn of our proprietary technology, they may use this information to produce products that are equivalent or superior to our products, which could reduce the sales of our products. Our employees, consultants, and corporate collaborators may breach their obligations not to reveal our confidential information, and any remedies available to us may be insufficient to compensate our damages. Even in the absence of such breaches, our trade secrets and proprietary know-how may otherwise become known to our competitors, or be independently discovered by our competitors, which could adversely affect our competitive position. We may be liable for product defects or other claims relating to our products. Our products could be defective, fail to perform as designed or otherwise cause harm to our customers, their equipment or their products. If any of our products are defective, we may be required to recall the products and/or repair or replace them, which could result in substantial expenses and affect our profitability. Any problems with the performance of our products could harm our reputation, which could result in a loss of sales to customers and/or potential customers. In addition, if our customers believe that they have suffered harm caused by our products, they could bring claims against us that could result in significant liability. A failure of our products could cause substantial damage to a paper-making machine. Any claims brought against us by customers may result in:   •   diversion of management’s time and attention;   •   expenditure of large amounts of cash on legal fees, expenses, and payment of damages;   •   decreased demand for our products and services; and   •   injury to our reputation. Our insurance may not sufficiently cover a large judgment against us or settlement payment, and is subject to customary deductibles, limits and exclusions. We could incur substantial costs as a result of violations of or liabilities under laws protecting the environment and human health. Our operations and facilities are subject to a number of national, state and local laws and regulations protecting the environment and human health in the United States and foreign countries that govern, among other things, the handling, storage and disposal of hazardous materials, discharges of pollutants into the air and water and workplace safety. The U.S. federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, as amended (“CERCLA”) provides for responses to, and, in some instances, joint and several liability for releases of, hazardous substances into the environment. Environmental laws also hold current owners or operators of land or businesses liable for their own and for previous owners’ or operators’ releases of hazardous or toxic substances, materials or wastes, pollutants or contaminants, including petroleum and petroleum products. Because of our operations, the history of industrial uses at some of our facilities, the operations of predecessor owners or operators of some of the businesses, and the use and release of hazardous substances at these sites, the liability provisions of environmental laws may affect us. Many of our facilities have experienced some level of regulatory scrutiny in the past and are or may be subject to further regulatory inspections, future requests for investigation or liability for regulated materials management practices. We cannot assure that we have been or will be at all times in complete compliance with all laws and regulations applicable to us which are designed to protect the environment and human health. We could incur substantial costs, including clean-up costs, fines and sanctions and third party property damage or personal injury claims, as a result of violations of or liabilities under environmental laws, relevant common law or the environmental permits required for our operations. We are currently conducting environmental remediation projects at certain of our sites, and we have been identified as a potentially responsible party under CERCLA or similar state requirements for several off-site locations. In 2006 and 2005, we paid $2.5 million and $2.8 million, respectively, in connection with the environmental remediation of certain of our facilities. As of December 31, 2006 we have reserves of $2.3 million to cover anticipated remediation costs of contamination at certain of our facilities. There can be no assurance that actual remediation costs will not exceed such reserves. Adverse labor relations could harm our operations and reduce our profitability. As of December 31, 2006, we had approximately 3,800 employees, approximately 23% of whom were subject to protection of various collective bargaining agreements and approximately 28% of whom were subject to job protection as members of trade unions, employee associations or workers’ councils. Approximately 47% of the employees subject to collective bargaining agreements (or approximately 11% of our total employees) were covered by collective bargaining agreements that expire prior to December 31, 2007. We cannot be certain that we will be able to renew such collective bargaining agreements, or enter into new collective bargaining agreements, which do not adversely affect our operating results and that we will be without production interruptions, including labor stoppages. In addition, approximately 89% of the employees subject to job protection as members of trade unions, employer associations or workers’ councils (or approximately 44% of our total employees) were subject to arrangements that expire prior to December 31, 2007. We cannot be certain that the terms of employment applicable to such employees will not change in a manner which adversely affects our operating results. We cannot be certain that we will not experience disruptions in our operations as a result of labor disputes or experience other labor relations issues. If we are unable to maintain good relations with our employees, our ability to produce our products and provide services to our customers could be reduced and/or our production costs could increase, either of which could disrupt our business and reduce our profitability. If we acquire other businesses, we may not be able to successfully integrate them into our operations and/or the expected benefits of such acquisitions may not be realized. Our growth strategy may include the acquisition of one or more businesses. For example, in 2006, we acquired Coldwater Covers, Inc. and PMA Shoji Co. Ltd. Any such acquisition involves numerous risks, which may include:   •   difficulty in assimilating the operations, technologies, products and the key employees of the acquired businesses;   •   our inability to maintain the existing customers of the acquired business or succeed in selling the products or services of the acquired business to our existing customers;   •   a diversion of management’s attention from other business concerns;   •   our entry into markets in which competitors have a better established market position than the business we acquire;   •   the incurrence of significant expenses in completing the acquisitions; and   •   the assumption of significant liabilities, some of which may be unknown at the time of the acquisition. Our inability to successfully execute any acquisitions or integrate acquired businesses could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results. Risks Relating to our Capital Structure Shareholders may not receive any dividends. Dividend payments are not guaranteed and are within the absolute discretion of our board of directors. Shareholders may not receive any dividends as a result of any of the following factors:   •   we are not obligated to pay dividends;   •   our credit facility limits the amount of dividends we are permitted to pay;   •   Our board of directors could modify or revoke our dividend policy at any time and for any reason. We expect that our board of directors will reevaluate our dividend policy and the rate at which we pay quarterly dividends on a quarterly basis taking into account such factors as our financial performance, the sufficiency of cash flow from operations to fund dividends, our cash position and cash requirements, growth opportunity and acquisition strategies, competitive or technological developments, the level of participation in our dividend reinvestment plan, credit facility limitations and other contractual restrictions, debt repayment considerations, provisions of applicable law, and other considerations that our board of directors may deem relevant.   •   even if the dividend policy is not modified or revoked, our board of directors could decide to reduce dividends or not to pay any dividends at all, at any time and for any reason;   •   the amount of dividends distributed is subject to state law restrictions;   •   our stockholders have no contractual or other legal right to dividends;   •   we may not have enough cash to pay dividends due to changes to our operating earnings, working capital requirements, funding of growth initiatives and other anticipated cash needs; and   •   our foreign subsidiaries may be subject to legal restrictions that prevent them from distributing cash to us to enable the payment of dividends. In February 2007, we adopted a dividend reinvestment plan, and certain entities associated with Apax Europe IV GP Co. Ltd. which collectively owned approximately 52% of our outstanding common stock as of December 31, 2006 have committed to participate in the plan through December 31, 2007 at a level such that at a minimum 50% of each dividend otherwise payable in cash on our common stock, including shares not held by these entities, is reinvested in our common stock through the plan, provided that these entities are not required to reinvest more than 100% of the cash dividends payable to them with respect to such dividend declaration. The participation of these entities and other shareholders in the plan would increase the number of outstanding shares of common stock eligible to participate in future dividends and therefore could increase the cash required to pay cash dividends at a particular rate per share. The reduction or elimination of dividends may adversely affect the market price of our common stock. Our credit facility prohibits us from paying dividends in the future if we do not improve our financial performance. Our credit facility restricts our ability to declare and pay dividends on our common stock. We may not pay dividends if a default or event of default under our credit facility has occurred and is continuing or would occur as a consequence of such payment. Our credit facility requires that we meet certain financial ratios in order to avoid a default or event of default under the facility. These covenants, as amended on December 22, 2006, are as follows:   •   Our interest coverage ratio as of the end of any period set forth below must exceed the ratio set forth for such period: Period    Ratio Fiscal quarters ending December 31, 2006 through September 30, 2007    3.50:1 Fiscal quarters ending December 31, 2007 through June 30, 2009    3.75:1 Fiscal quarters ending September 30, 2009 through March 31, 2010    4.00:1 Fiscal quarters ending June 30, 2010 through December 31, 2010    4.25:1 Fiscal quarters ending March 31, 2011 and June 30, 2011    4.50:1 Fiscal quarters ending September 30, 2011 through March 31, 2012    4.75:1   •   Our leverage ratio as of the end of any period set forth below must not exceed the ratio set forth for such period: Period    Ratio Fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2006 through June 30, 2007    4.75:1 Fiscal quarters ending September 30, 2007 and December 31, 2007    4.50:1 Fiscal quarters ending March 31, 2008 through September 30, 2008    4.25:1 Fiscal quarters ending December 31, 2008 and March 31, 2009    4.00:1 Fiscal quarters ending June 30, 2009 through December 31, 2009    3.75:1 Fiscal quarters ending March 31, 2010 through December 31, 2010    3.50:1 Fiscal quarters ending March 31, 2011 through March 31, 2012    3.25:1   •   Our fixed charge coverage ratio as of the end of any period set forth below must exceed the ratio set forth for such period: Period    Ratio Fiscal quarters ending September 30, 2005 through December 31, 2006    1.75:1 Fiscal quarters ending March 31, 2007 through December 31, 2007    1.85:1 Fiscal quarters ending March 31, 2008 and thereafter    1.90:1 For the four fiscal quarters ended December 31, 2006 our interest coverage ratio was 3.86:1, our leverage ratio was 4.30:1 and our fixed charge coverage ratio was 2.11:1. Our ability to comply with the financial ratios may be affected by events beyond our control, such as prevailing economic, financial and industry conditions, including unfavorable foreign currency movements relative to the U.S. Dollar and increases in the interest rate on our debt resulting from changes in market interest rates. In addition, the interest rate on our debt increased in December 2006 in connection with an amendment to our credit facility and increased further in 2007 pursuant to that amendment as a result of a downgrade in the rating of our senior indebtedness by Moody’s. There can be no assurance that we will continue to be in compliance with such financial ratios. Because the financial ratios become more restrictive over time, our financial performance will need to improve in subsequent periods in order for us to remain in compliance with the financial ratios in subsequent periods. In particular, in order to be in compliance with the interest coverage ratio in respect of the four fiscal quarters ending December 31, 2006, we will need to generate Adjusted EBITDA during such period that, depending upon factors affecting interest expense in 2007, including changes in market interest rates affecting the unhedged portion of the interest on our senior indebtedness, and the extent to which we utilize our revolving loan, is nearly equal to or in excess of the amount of Adjusted EBITDA