Ahlstrom expands its Mikkeli, Finland plant

Ahlstrom, a global leader in high performance fiber-based materials, today announced it will expand the production capacity of the Mikkeli plant in Finland. The EUR 5 million investment will consist of an additional building of approximately 6,000 m2 and new machinery. The construction work will begin in spring 2006, and it is estimated to be completed in December the same year.
The Mikkeli plant manufactures glassfibre products for composite industry, the major end users being wind energy, marine, sports equipment, and transport vehicle industries. 95% of the plant's production is exported, mainly to other European countries. Ahlstrom is one of the leading specialty glassfibre reinforcement suppliers globally.
"We have built five new production lines to Mikkeli plant during 2005, and our production capacity is now fully utilized. This expansion enables us to increase the production capacity up to 50% within the next few years. The investment does not directly increase the number of employees, but makes future growth possible", comments Pertti Tilli, the plant manager.
Besides the new machinery, the new building will also include storage capacity for raw materials and finished goods, which are currently outsourced to three separate warehouses. This is expected to bring significant cost savings. In addition, the maintenance area, staff rooms, and the shelter will be renovated.
"In recent years, we have been able to strengthen our global market share as a specialty reinforcement supplier, especially in wind energy and marine industries. Our target is to continue profitable growth at a rate that exceeds the market average. The investment in Mikkeli will support this objective. In addition, we are currently planning a significant investment to increase the converting capacity of the Karhula, Finland plant. We also assess our possibilities to operate in the Americas and in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia", says Tommi Björnman, Senior Vice President, Glass Nonwovens.
The Mikkeli plant is part of Ahlstrom's Glass Nonwovens business area which belongs to the company's FiberComposites segment.
For further information, please contact:
Tommi Björnman, Senior Vice President, Glass Nonwovens, tel. +358 50 526 1607
Pertti Tilli, Plant manager, Mikkeli plant, tel. +358 50 526 1241