Ahlstrom to expand its specialty paper production to Brazil

Ahlstrom Corporation STOCK EXCHANGE RELEASE 23.2.2007
Ahlstrom, a global leader in fiber-based materials, today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Brazilian Votorantim Celulose e Papel (VCP) to form a joint venture for specialty paper production in Brazil. The assets in the joint venture, currently owned by VCP, comprise a paper machine, an offline coater and extensive finishing equipment at the Jacarei mill, close to São Paulo. According to the Memorandum of Understanding, Ahlstrom will hold a majority of the joint venture.
Ahlstrom expects to close the deal on or before June 30, 2007, subject to antitrust clearances and satisfactory conclusion of the ongoing due diligence process.
The paper production capacity of the assets is approximately 110,000 tons per year. The joint venture will be part of Ahlstrom's Specialty Papers segment and serve mainly the labeling and flexible packaging markets. In addition, it will continue to produce coated and uncoated paper grades for other end-uses. Currently, most of the paper production is supplied on the local markets but Ahlstrom aims to expand the customer base and serve the markets by utilizing its global specialty materials sales network.
The Jacarei facility is an integrated pulp and paper mill and one of the most modern and competitive eucalyptus pulp producers in the world with a pulp production capacity of one million tons per year. VCP has been supplying eucalyptus pulp for Ahlstrom on a global basis for more than seven years.
"The deal is in line with Ahlstrom's strategy to expand its operations in the fast-growing markets outside Europe. Moreover, the joint venture offers us an excellent opportunity to strengthen our position as the global leader in the specialty papers markets. The integrated mill also gives us an exceptional access to competitively priced eucalyptus pulp and energy", comments Jukka Moisio, President and CEO of Ahlstrom.
"We will develop this state of the art site into a highly competitive manufacturing platform to serve our customers in the labeling and packaging industry. This move is also a strong sign of commitment and confidence in the Latin American markets showing rapid economic growth", says Diego Borello, Senior Vice President, Label & Packaging Papers of Ahlstrom.
The global market for Ahlstrom's label and packaging papers is estimated to grow 3-4% annually with double-digit growth rates seen in Latin America and Asia. Ahlstrom's current operations in Brazil consist of a plant manufacturing filtration materials in Louveira. In 2006, Ahlstrom announced an investment in a wiping fabrics production line utilizing spunlace technology, also located in Louveira. The new line is estimated to be operational in early 2008.
Ahlstrom Corporation
Jukka Moisio, President & CEO
For further information, please contact:
Jukka Moisio, President & CEO, Ahlstrom Corporation, +358 (0)10 888 4700
Diego Borello, Senior Vice President, Label & Packaging Papers, +39 011 92 60 193
Risto Anttonen, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, +358 50 597 8400
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Votorantim Celulose e Papel in brief
Votorantim Celulose e Papel (VCP) is part of the Votorantim Group, a major Brazilian conglomerate. VCP is one of the leading integrated pulp and paper manufacturer in Latin America with four manufacturing sites and a harbor. In 2006, VCP's net sales amounted to USD 1.3 billion, EBITDA to USD 487 million and EBIT to USD 285 million. VCP's shares are listed on the São Paulo Stock Exchange and on the ADR list of the New York Stock Exchange.
Ahlstrom in brief
Ahlstrom 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, e.g. in filters, wipes, flooring, labels, and tapes. The company has a strong market position in several business areas in which it operates, built upon the company's unique fiber expertise and innovative approach. Ahlstrom's 5,700 employees serve customers via sales offices and production facilities in more than 20 countries on six continents. In 2006, Ahlstrom's net sales amounted to EUR 1.6 billion. Ahlstrom's share is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. The company website is www.ahlstrom.com.