supercalendered release base papers at the La Gère plant in France. The investment comprised the speed-up of the PM6 paper machine, the construction of a new 2800-square-meter building, to hold the completely redesigned finishing and loading department and the installation of a new high-speed winder. The project started in the second quarter of 2006, when the foundations of the new building were laid, and was completed in two steps in the first and second quarter of 2007.
The expansion has increased the plant’s annual production capacity of supercalendered release base papers by over 35%, which will be progressively achieved in the coming quarters. At the same time, it enables a significant improvement of product quality. The project followed a similar operation that had taken place at the Turin, Italy, plant in early 2006.
After these two major investments in Europe, the company announced it would form a joint venture with the Brazilian pulp and paper manufacturer Votorantim Celulose e Papel (VCP) for the production of specialty papers in Brazil. The joint venture will enable Ahlstrom to develop a new platform to supply the whole Latin America, one of the fastest growing markets for pressure sensitive products. Ahlstrom will own 60% of the joint venture shares.