Positive movements in the premium bedding space bodes well for Alexium

By Zachary Graves. Published at Jun 15, 2020, in Technology

In April, Alexium International Group Limited (ASX:AJX) reported a significant commercial development, signing a supply agreement with industry leading bedding product manufacturer Soft-Tex International, Inc.

Soft-Tex agreed to exclusively purchase Alexium’s Alexicool® phase change material (PCM) products for bedding systems based on Soft-Tex’s Reactex® technology.

Alexicool® is Alexium’s proprietary cost-effective chemical finish for fabrics that absorb heat while providing a cool-to-the-touch feel. Designed for bedding fabrics to improve comfort, Alexicool® also provides a durable PCM finish at a practical cost, offering high heat capacity and wash durability while being halogen free.

Alexium is a South Carolina, USA based specialty chemicals innovator focused on high-performance, environmentally friendly, phase change materials (PCM) and non-hazardous flame retardants (FR). Alexicool® is just one of the wide-ranging applications of this PCM technology, which are at various stages of commercialisation.

Soft-Tex also recently entered into an exclusive partnership with the biggest mattress brand in the US — Serta Simmons Bedding (SSB) to add new technologies to SSB’s mattress lines.

The relationship establishes Soft-Tex’s role as an “innovation partner,” providing sourcing, supply chain management and marketing services to SSB that are tied to the new technologies.

The multi-faceted partnership will support SSB research and development teams and be integral to the delivery of next-generation mattress products.

Leveraging its “robust intellectual property” Soft-Tex will provide SSB access to new products developed using more than 100 of its patents in the mattress category. Its innovation teams have begun working directly with SSB on the integration of those technologies for use in upcoming SSB product launches.

SSB and Soft-Tex expect to launch mattress lines featuring Soft-Tex-supplied technology for shipment in the fall of 2020.

Soft-Tex intends to be a long-term innovation partner for SSB, providing it with a strong competitive advantage in the mattress marketplace and creating products that offer real solutions to solve customer needs.

Premium sleep market goes through a period of rapid growth

The strength of Serta Simmons Bedding was further demonstrated last week when it entered into an agreement to recapitalise the company and accelerate its business transformation plans.

SSB attracted $200 million in new capital to increase its financial strength and support a strategic plan which is likely to incorporate a strengthening of the group’s position as an innovative bedding manufacturer and distributor.

This is good news for the likes of Alexium and Soft-Tex as both companies benefits from an enhanced SSB and growth in the premium specialty sleep products market.

Widely recognised as the industry leader, Soft-Tex International manufactures and distributes some of the best sleep products available.

Its Reactex® technologies span the personal climate control, wellness, antimicrobials, and other categories.

Soft-Tex’s ReactexTM technologies control heat energy flow and storage to create a customer’s unique ideal personal bedding climate.

The innovation partnership between Alexium and Soft-Tex combines the technical and commercial strengths of both companies and provides AJX with a channel to some of the world’s most recognisable retailers, such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, J.C. Penney and Dillard’s.

The agreement with Soft-Tex is a significant step forward on the first two Key Growth Pillars outlined by management in its half-year result, and it is the completion of a key milestone for the commercialisation of “total mattress cooling systems”.

These growth pillars as outlined below revolve around providing the company with a unique value proposition to offer its customers, while also differentiating itself from competitors in a market that is valued at US$65 million in the US alone.

AJX’s recent agreement with Soft-Tex was a significant step forward for the first two of AJX’s five key growth pillars:

Alexium appoints new Board member

In other news, Alexium today announced the appointment of Dr Paul Stenson to the Board as a Non-Executive Director.

Dr Stenson is the President and CEO of StanChem Polymers, a manufacturer of emulsion polymers, adhesives and specialty coatings including fire retardants. He has a PhD from University College Dublin in chemistry.

With over 25 years’ experience in polymer-related industries, he is a business and R&D leader with expertise in coatings, polymers and specialty chemicals with specific industry expertise in industrial, packaging, automotive coatings and specialty papers.

For nearly 18 years, he worked with Valspar Corporation as the Technology Director of industrial coatings for North America and later Vice President for global packaging in Europe.

He has an established track record of aligning R&D and Product Management to enable effective product launches through third party distribution networks.

Commenting on the appointment, Ms Rosheen Garnon, Chair of the Board of Alexium International Group Limited, said: “Dr Stenson has deep expertise in advanced material sciences and in particular with fire retardants. His experience in research & development, commercialising products and leveraging third party distribution networks within the United States, will bring deep and relevant skill sets to the Board at an important time in our commercialisation efforts.”

This follows news on 1 June that prototype foam mattresses using flame retardant (FR) socks treated with Alexiflam® NF have passed flammability testing required by US federal safety standards.

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