Our Story Timeline
Filtrona’s journey was anything but easy. It all began in Bratislava with a small business in haberdashery.
The business was originally known as Emmanual Biach’s and became Bunzl & Biach under Bunzl’s three sons, after moving to Vienna in 1883. By then, Bunzl & Biach had moved into the rag trade.
The rag trade led the family into developing businesses producing textiles, as well as pulp and paper, with the opening of the company’s first paper mill at Ortmann in 1888.
The first move into cigarette filter production came in the 1920s. Perfection in production came by 1927 when Bunzl & Biach agreed to allow Aivaz (Boris Aivaz was the inventor of the cigarette filter device using crepe paper) to further develop his idea at the company’s Ortmann factory.
Within a few years, world wide sales network boomed and the company was selling paper to 15 countries at 370 tons / year.
The upheaval in Central Europe forced the Jewish Bunzl family to flee Austria in the late 1930s. Most of the family emigrated to the United Kingdom and United States. Forced to rebuild from nothing, the Bunzls, then led by Hugo, George, and Martin Bunzl, founded a new company, Tissue Papers Ltd. in 1940.
The year when Cigarette Component Ltd was formed as a subsidiary of Tissue Papers Ltd to concentrate on the filter business.
Cigarette filter became increasingly important as part of the group’s operations due to market trend and demand. By 1954, the American branch of the Bunzl family joined in, forming American Filtrona Corporation. Simultaneously, the development of a new cellulose acetate-based filter provided a new boost for the market and demand skyrocketed.
Consistent investment in production and innovation enabled the company to position itself as the world’s leading filter manufacturer. The company controlled a near-monopoly on the production of filters in the United Kingdom alone. With a strong positioning, the company went public to spur its growth exponentially.
Cigarette Component Ltd started dual rod manufacturing offering various models to the market.
As the recognition of the danger posed by smoking became more widely accepted, diversification into the packaging industry began in the 1960s. Additionally, as part of Bunzl’s effort to reduce its reliance on cigarette filters, the company took over its parent company in the 1970.
In 1971, Filtrona established a new Thailand plant. A few years later in 1977, a new Indonesia plant was built. Both plants were upgraded between 1987 to 2011.
Bunzl is a diversified business with a fine paper distribution and manufacturing arm as the future Filtrona began to take shape.
The strong growth of Bunzl’s outsourcing services division led the group to split up its operations, spinning off its fiber and plastics technologies into a new publicly listed company, Filtrona.
Extensive investments in new, efficient manufacturing equipment were made in the 1990s to 2000. Multiple plants were opened in Greensboro, India, Jordan, Venezuela, New Richmond and Paraguay.
Acquisition of American Filtrona Corporation which delivered significant extra filter and bonded fibre technology and an extrusion business.
Bunzl's acquisitions spanning across Netherlands, United States, and Switzerland greatly boosted the growth in the paper and plastics divisions.
Simultaneously, new plants were opened in the early 2000s at Greensboro and Paraguay.
The name change realigns the company with its parent, which changed its name from Filtrona PLC to Essentra PLC. In a press note announcing the name change, EFP, which has its headquarters in Singapore, described itself as the world’s leading independent provider of special filters and scientific services to the tobacco industry.