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Wipes company repositions itself as cosmetics provider

By Simon Pitman , 30-Oct-2012
Last updated on 31-Oct-2012 at 14:18 GMT

The Wisconsin-based Triad Group, which specializes in the manufacture of alcohol wipes, says it plans to re-open its business as a cosmetics maker following bankruptcy procedures.

Federal court papers relating to the business’s pending bankruptcy reveal that company executives want to go through with the procedure in an effort to reorganize the structure and direction of the company.

The company was forced into bankruptcy after 11 people were alleged to have died as a possible result of using the company’s alcoholic wipes.

Working with the FDA to re-establish the business

"The Triad Group is working closely with the FDA and outside consultants to satisfy the requirements within the Consent Decree," Triad Group CEO Eric Haertle told Cosmetics Design.

"Our number one goal is to resume manufacturing otc's and devices. This approval will not only open up the drug and device markets to us but it would also put us in a position to offer cosmetic products manufactured within a facility approved for drugs."

Although the company has not yet stipulated what type of cosmetics line it wants to produce, Haertle says that he plans to convert the 290,000-square foot production facility in Hartland to accommodate the new production line.

"It is perfectly suited to manufacture otc's and cosmetics. We have seperate production suites, some environmentally controlled and we have seperate batching and blending suites," Haertle said.

Alleged deaths and law suit

The deaths led to a nation-wide recall of the products and US marshalls seized a total of $6 million in products from distributors and retailers when the re-call occurred last year.

The re-call and facility closure has been followed up by more than 100 lawsuits and claims, which have been filed against the Triad Group and its sister company H&P Industries.

Since then the production facility has been closed up by the FDA, while negotiations between Triad executives and the FDA have been on-going to meet conditions and resume production of the wipes.

The market for wipes is increasingly competitive and is currently dominated by one multinational player Kimberly-Clark, which is prevalent in the market for both baby wipes and medical wipes.

Currently the market for wipes in the US is valued at $2.3bn, but growth in recent years has slowed significantly as the economic challenges have seen many consumers cut back on items deemed to be non-essential.

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