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.