Ahlstrom Corporation will take further restructuring measures in order to adjust its operations to the weakening demand. The company is planning plant closures in Italy and temporary and permanent layoffs worldwide.
In Italy, Ahlstrom has started negotiations with employees regarding the permanent closure of its Gallarate and Carbonate sites, as well as the closure of one production line in Cressa, Italy. The measures result in a reduction of about 60 employees. All three sites produce nonwoven wiping fabrics.
In Finland, Ahlstrom has issued a proposal to start negotiations with the personnel representatives in Karhula, Mikkeli and Tampere. In Karhula and Mikkeli the negotiations may lead to temporary layoffs for approximately 250 persons and the possibility of permanent layoffs cannot be excluded. In Tampere negotiations may lead to temporary layoffs for approximately 60 persons. Ahlstrom's plants in Karhula and Mikkeli produce glass nonwovens products, and combined they employ 560 people. The Tampere plant produces filtration materials and employs 60 people.
In addition, Ahlstrom has started the process of reducing personnel at several plants globally. The adjustments concern personnel both in the Specialty Papers and the Fiber Composites segments. It is anticipated that the measures will result in a reduction of approximately 150 employees.
Despite these restructuring actions Ahlstrom will continue serving its customers as usual.
Related to the actions, Ahlstrom will book a non-recurring restructuring charge of €7 million in its fourth quarter of 2008.
In addition, Ahlstrom will book a non-cash write-down on goodwill and tangible assets of €16 million, mostly related to nonwoven wiping fabrics.
The distribution of above-mentioned restructuring charges and write-downs of €23 million by reporting segment is the following: Specialty Papers €2 million and Fiber Composites €21 million.
According to preliminary information, Ahlstrom's full-year operating profit for 2008 will be approximately €40 million compared to €68 million in 2007, excluding non-recurring items. Including the above-mentioned restructuring measures and write-downs, the operating profit will be approximately €17 million.
Net sales in 2008 are estimated to be approximately €1.8 billion, up from €1.7 billion in 2007. Ahlstrom will release its financial statement February 5.