Ahlstrom announces new expansion of its capacity for release base papers

Ahlstrom, a leading global supplier of specialty label and packaging papers, today announced a EUR 30 million plan to expand the production capacity of supercalendered release base papers at its La Gère plant in France.
Scheduled for early 2007, the investment will include modification of several components of the La Gère PM 6 paper machine and of related off-line finishing equipment. The resulting speed-up of the machine will increase current annual production capacity by approximately 25,000 tons, and will significantly improve product quality. The investment recognizes the high requirements of producers of silicone coated release liners for two-side adhesive tapes and other specialty applications, who represent the plant's main customer base, in addition to major producers of self-adhesive laminates for the labeling business.
The investment follows a similar capacity increase, announced earlier, that is planned for the Turin, Italy, plant in January 2006. Both are in line with Ahlstrom's strategy to continuously increase the production capacity and the product quality of its release base papers.
Average growth in worldwide demand for release base papers, used for the manufacturing of self-adhesive laminates and silicone coated release liners, is estimated at 5-7 % p.a. This growth is mainly driven by the increasing use of pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) labeling for product identification, decoration and tracking.
Ahlstrom's target is to exceed the average market growth in this business and to strengthen its global leading position. The company is also assessing opportunities to expand the production of release base papers outside Europe.
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 all business areas in which it operates, built upon the company's unique fiber expertise and innovative approach. Ahlstrom's 5,400 employees serve customers via sales offices and production facilities in more than 20 countries on five continents. In 2004, Ahlstrom's net sales amounted to EUR 1.6 billion. The company website is www.ahlstrom.com.
For additional information, please contact:
Diego Borello
Senior Vice President
Label & Packaging papers      
tel: + 39 011 92601 - fax +39 011 9269 617
Marco Martinez
Marketing and communications director
Label & Packaging papers      
tel: + 39 011 92601 - fax +39 011 9269 617
e-mail: marco.martinez@ahlstrom.com