Polyouate – From plastics to tissue

Polyouate is the second largest tissue converter in French Polynesia, producing around 400 tons per year of finished product.

The company entered the tissue market in 1997 when it installed a Fabio Perini S.p.A model 702G rewinder for industrial size rolls. Pascal Tournier, 37, is the General Manager at Polyouate, which he started together with his late mother, Emelie, in 1996.

“My parents,” says Tournier, “had a plastic sack business on Tahiti since the 1960s. The idea with entering the tissue business was to give us a second leg to stand on.”

PASCAL’S FATHER ROGER, HAD COME FROM FRANCE where he had gained experience in the plastics business. The plastic sack company is called Polysac, with one of it main products being plastic garbage bags. Since a large number of its customers were in the hygiene and sanitation business, it made sense to start a company that could serve many of the same customers. “Polysac already knew all the buyers for plastic bags, so it was a good fit to enter a business where we already had contacts with a large number of the potential customers,” says Tournier. Thus Polyouate was formed with the main emphasis from the beginning on 25.5 cm jumbo rolls for the away-from-home or industrial sector of the tissue business. At that time, says Tournier, there was no other jumbo roll producer on Tahiti.

AS THE COMPANY GREW IT STARTED MAKING MORE SMALL SIZE TOILET ROLLS and then in 2003 it took the decision to install a new Fabio Perini S.p.A model 813 slitter rewinder line which could increase output and quality for the growing market. Tournier estimates that Polyouate has been growing about 10% per year in recent years. Main products today are still toilet rolls, both large size for the AFH market as well as consumer rolls for the retail market.

As far as sales, Tournier says the company is shipping to customers all over the French Polynesian islands. The main retail customers are of course the large outlets such as Carrefour and Hyper U. Today about 70% of the products are made for the consumer sector while 30% go to the away-from-home customers.

For raw material, Polyouate is today mainly buying jumbo rolls from Asian suppliers. It has in the past bought tonnage from other parts of the world, such as the USA, but since 2003 it has been sourcing most of its tonnage in Asia.

THE POLYOUATE TISSUE LINE IS LOCATED IN THE SAME PLANT AS THE POLYSAC PLASTIC BAG LINES. The company today has 11 employees working on tissue production, with operations going on eight hours a day, five days a week.

For the future, Tournier says he wants to continue to develop the company mainly by increasing product quality through improvements such as embossing and printing. “This is a small market, so we aren’t going to see any dramatic growth overnight. But we want to improve quality by offering better product with advanced properties like embossing and printing.” •

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