A spunlace production line will be the first addition to Ahlstrom’s new plant in Paulinia, Brazil, which is currently being constructed. Slated to start up in the third quarter of 2008, the new line will focus on products for the wipes market and the company is expected to participate in the baby, personal care, industrial and household wipes segments, as well as having production capabilities to manufacture medical and industrial spunlace products.
This move follows Ahlstrom’s October 2006 investment of €17 million in a new wiping fabric production line in Louveira, Brazil. “During the months following our announcement, we determined that this location was not suitable for our planning and ambitions,” explained Helen Viazmensky, business director, Latin America, Wipes.
The nonwovens industry in Latin America continues to grow and the wipes market in particular is expected to grow 8% per year from 2006 to 2012. In addition, high duties on incoming nonwoven materials reportedly prevent profitable sales to South America from the U.S. and Europe. “These factors, coupled with Brazil’s large population and dramatic economic growth, made Brazil the perfect location for Ahlstrom’s new production line,” said Ms. Viazmensky. Domestic production of wipes is expected to allow Ahlstrom to offer less expensive, better quality nonwoven materials to customers in the region.