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Kimberly-Clark Watch: Company eyes expansion in Russia

Firm chooses industrial city near Moscow for new plant

The Post-Crescent

Kimberly-Clark calls them the BRICIT countries, six nations the front office considers key in strategic global growth.

One of the six is Russia, which now looms even larger in the corporate blueprint. (Brazil, Indonesia, China, India and Turkey are the others.)

The Dallas-based consumer products giant announced plans this week to build a new diaper plant at Stupino, an industrial city of about 75,000 people within 60 miles of Moscow.

The firm chose the spot because of its developed infrastructure, highly qualified work force and location to serve a springboard to major Russian cities and others in eastern Europe.

K-C spokesman Dave Dickson declined to project a cost for the new plant, preferring to stick with the "multimillion dollar" estimate in the news release.

Somewhat ironically, the plans for the new plant thousands of miles away come as K-C continues to wind down its longtime diaper manufacturing plant in the Fox Cities.

The Lakeview Diaper Plant that dominates a Green Bay Road site in the Town of Menasha employed more than 500 people as recently as three years ago. It will be shuttered Dec. 31.

Dickson said he would check to see if any of the four remaining diaper machines, which K-C millwrights have masterfully tailored to their own production specs over the years, will be shipped overseas to be put to use in the new facility.

Or, for that matter, whether they'll find a spot much closer to home in one of the three U.S. plants where K-C churns out Huggies diapers and Pull-Ups training pants.

Mc Cray successor picked

K-C named Thomas Mielke, formerly vice-president and chief counsel for the company's North Atlantic consumer businesses, as its new senior vice president of law, government affairs and chief compliance officer.

He succeeds Ronald Mc Cray, who recently resigned to join Nike Inc., as vice president and chief administrative officer. He will report to chairman and chief executive officer Thomas Falk.

Squaring off against bed-wetting

Young Jacob and Emily won't fret as much at bedtime. And their moms and dads will be grateful.

That's the kind of reaction K-C is hoping for from both parents and children when it makes the first absorbent underpants that look and feel like boxer-style underwear available later this month.

It's the North American launch of GoodNites Sleep Boxers, for boys, and Sleep Shorts for girls.

Most children outgrow bed-wetting with time and patience. But, in the meantime, the products address the sensitive issue, which can affect a child's self esteem and ability to relax at bedtime, K-C's Bob Thibault said.

K-C is counting on the track record. Within the first year of being introduced to market in 2004, the gender specific underpants produced double-digit gains in the category.

Presentation planned

Mark Buthman, senior vice president and chief financial officer, will make a presentation Tuesday about the company's strategies for growing its global health and hygiene business.

He will participate in the Bank of America's 37th annual investment conference from 10:30 to 11 a.m. A link will be provided through the investor's section of K-C's Web site at




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