VDL and DSM form joint venture to manufacture and commercialize medical facemasks and PPE filter materials

VDL and DSM form joint venture to manufacture and commercialize medical facemasks and PPE filter materials

4 September 2020

VDL Groep and Royal DSM today announce the start of a 50/50 joint venture (JV) that will establish production of medical facemasks and the first permanent production of critical facemask components in the Netherlands. The new joint venture, Dutch PPE Solutions, is expected to create employment for dozens of people in Helmond and Geleen, the Netherlands.

The JV partners are investing several million euros in the purchase of manufacturing equipment and the construction of new manufacturing facilities to produce meltblown polypropylene, the critical material layer in medical facemasks that filters viruses, and to produce medical masks. Initial production of facemask will begin in Helmond in October 2020. The meltblown polypropylene plant is expected to be fully operational in Geleen in April 2021.

The new JV will help to meet the urgent need to diversify the global production and supply chains of personal protective equipment at scale by reducing dependency on a small number of international sources. The establishment of the first permanent production facility of critical filter material in the Netherlands will provide greater resilience to possible future surges in demand
for facemasks and the underlying materials. Dutch PPE Solutions is a new enterprise that combines VDL’s manufacturing and processing knowledge with DSM’s specialist materials expertise. The JV intends to help meet the ongoing demand for finished high-quality facemasks as well as critical filter material. The healthcare industry will be prioritized initially, and production will eventually be extended to support
professionals in other sectors such as public transport, schools and educational institutes and private companies across Europe. It will have reliability, quality, availability and responsible pricing at the core of its strategy.

While the priority of both companies is the swift, reliable and stable manufacturing of urgently needed medical facemasks, DSM and VDL will simultaneously look for innovative and sustainable ways to reduce the growing waste mountain of used facemasks, for example by looking into the use of circular materials.

President and CEO of VDL Groep, Willem van der Leegte: ‘During the past months, the corona crisis has taught us that you can't tell a pandemic what to do and that it's important for continents to provide for their own needs. This means we owe it to ourselves to create certainties close to home. This applies especially to personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who worked hard for our health during the past months, but for other professionals as well, of course. I'm proud of the fact that VDL and DSM, two powerful Dutch companies, decided to join forces and will start
producing melt-blown and facemasks.” Pieter Wolters, Vice President DSM Innovation: “The global demand for medical facemasks and critical filter material exceeds the limited supply. The need for reliable and high-quality supply chains is more urgent than ever. I’m proud that through our partnership with VDL Groep we can create a reliable, sustainable, high-quality supply chain in Europe, making us less dependent from supplies from overseas. Our joint venture is a purpose led commercial enterprise. It marks a new phase that builds on DSM’s earlier initiatives to donate or support production at cost of, among others, medical facemasks, disinfectants and testing swabs when it was most needed and immediate actions were necessary in the fight against covid-19.”

VDL Groep – Strength through cooperation Strength through cooperation. VDL Groep, an Eindhoven-based, international industrial family business, is built on this foundation. Pieter van der Leegte founded the company in 1953. Initially, VDL Groep specialised in metalworking. Later, when Pieter's son, Wim van der Leegte, took over
the business in 1966, the portfolio grew to include plastics processing, the development, production and sale of buses and high-tech supply to the semi-conductor industry (amongst other industries). VDL Groep has now expanded into subcontracting and semi-finished goods, makes its own end products, such as suspension systems, automated production lines for the automotive industry, heat exchangers and container handling systems, and it also owns the only passenger car factory in the Netherlands that handles third-party car assembly. VDL Groep innovates through a
combination of craftsmanship, entrepreneurship and the use of high-quality machines. The group combines the power of a multinational with the flat organisation and open, informal working atmosphere of a family business in which advancement opportunities and long-term ambitions are given priority. VDL Groep employs more than 15,000 employees and operates in 20 countries. The group encompasses 104 operating companies - each with its own specialism - that work together
closely. In 2019, the combined annual turnover amounted to 5.780 billion euros.

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DSM – Bright Science. Brighter Living. Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM addresses with its
products and solutions some of the world’s biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. DSM delivers innovative solutions for human nutrition, animal nutrition, personal care and aroma, medical devices, green products and applications, and new mobility and connectivity. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10
billion with approximately 23,000 employees. The company was founded in 1902 and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam.

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