Helsinki, Finland, 07 January 2009 -- Ahlstrom Corporation will take further restructuring measures to adjust its operations to weakening demand. The company is planning plant closures in Italy and temporary and permanent layoffs worldwide.
In Italy, Ahlstrom has started negotiations with worker representatives on a permanent closure of its Gallarate and Carbonate sites, and on a closure of one production line in Cressa. The measures will be implemented gradually, starting from the first quarter of 2009, with an estimated reduction of approximately 60 employees. All three sites produce nonwoven wiping fabrics.
In Finland, Ahlstrom has issued a proposal to start negotiations with the personnel representatives in Karhula, Mikkeli, and Tampere. In Karhula and Mikkeli, the negotiations may lead to temporary layoffs for approximately 250 persons and the possibility of permanent layoffs cannot be excluded. In Tampere, negotiations may lead to temporary layoffs for approximately 60 persons. Ahlstrom’s plants in Karhula and Mikkeli produce glass nonwovens products, and they employ altogether 560 people. The Tampere plant produces filtration materials and employs 60 people.
In addition, Ahlstrom has started the process of reducing personnel at several plants globally. The adjustments affect personnel in the Specialty Papers and the Fiber Composites segments and will result in a reduction of approximately 150 employees.
Despite these restructuring actions Ahlstrom will continue serving its customers as usual.
Related to the actions, Ahlstrom booked a nonrecurring restructuring charge of EUR 7 million in its fourth quarter of 2008. In addition, Ahlstrom will book a noncash write-down on goodwill and tangible assets of EUR 16 million, mostly related to nonwoven wiping fabrics.
The restructuring charges and write-downs of EUR 23 million will be divided as follows: Specialty Papers EUR 2 million and Fiber Composites EUR 21 million.
According to preliminary information, Ahlstrom's full-year operating profit for 2008 will be approximately EUR 40 million (versus EUR 68 million in 2007), excluding nonrecurring items. Including the restructuring measures and write-downs, the operating profit will be approximately EUR 17 million.
Net sales in 2008 are estimated to be approximately EUR 1800 million (versus EUR 1761 million in 2007).
Ahlstrom will issue its financial statements bulletin for 2008 on 05 February 2009.
) is a global leader in the development, manufacture, and marketing of high performance fiber-based materials. Nonwovens and specialty papers made by Ahlstrom are used in a large variety of everyday products, such as filters, wipes, flooring, labels, and tapes. Based upon its unique fiber expertise and innovative approach, the company has a strong market position in several business areas in which it operates. Ahlstrom's 6500 employees serve customers via sales offices and production facilities in more than 20 countries on six continents. In 2007, Ahlstrom's net sales amounted to EUR 1.8 billion. Ahlstrom's share is quoted on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.