Ahlstrom Corporation announced today that its Specialties division and the Technocell Dekor division of Felix Schoeller Holding in Germany, who each operate a production plant for specialty papers in Osnabrück, Germany, intend to establish a joint-venture company for the production of pre-impregnated furniture papers.

Ahlstrom is a leading producer of pre-impregnated paper for the furniture and panel industry worldwide, whereas Felix Schoeller's division Technocell Dekor is a major global supplier of classic decor papers for the woodworking industry. Over the past five years pre-impregnated materials have shown strong growth in the decorative paper market. As a result, Ahlstrom's specialized machine Nr. 3 in the Osnabrück plant is now operating at full capacity.

Technocell has recently decided to convert its decor paper machine nr. 15 in Osnabrück to producing pre-impregnated paper in addition to its existing products. The new joint-venture company that Ahlstrom and Technocell plan to establish, will operate both paper machines and take over the existing pre-impregnated paper business from both partners.

In the initial stage Ahlstrom will have an 80% share in the new company compared to 20% for Technocell. In a later stage, when the investment project for machine nr. 15 is finalized, the share ownership will become 50% for each of the partners.

According to Risto Anttonen, President of Ahlstrom's Specialties division, the new joint venture company ensures that there will be sufficient production capacity to satisfy the continuing rapid market growth. "The fact that both machines are based in Osnabrück gives us excellent synergy benefits".

"The marketing know-how and technological leadership of both parent companies also ensures that this cooperation has all the necessary ingredients for staying at the forefront of new product development," adds Wolfgang Janssen, Chief Operating Officer of Technocell.

Ahlstrom is a leader in high performance fiber-based materials serving niche markets worldwide. Our fiber solutions are used in a large variety of everyday products for the environment, health care, transport, packaging and home & office. The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, employs approximately 7000 people and operates at more than 40 production sites on four continents. Today, annual net sales of Ahlstrom's fiber solutions business are more than EUR 1.6 billion (US$ 1.4 billion). The company website is www.ahlstrom.com

Ahlstrom's Specialties division is a leading global supplier of specialty papers for industrial use, and cores plus core board. The division employs 1800 people and operates nine paper production plants and 18 converting plants worldwide. In 2001, the division had net sales of approximately EUR 387 million (US$ 340 million).