Ahlstrom Corp., a leader in high performance fiber-based materials has reported fourth quarter results. During the October-December 2009 period, net sales reached $585 million. Loss before taxes was $46 million.
Group net sales in 2009 decreased in all business areas due to lower volumes in most products. Net sales for 2009 were $2 billion, a decrease of 11.4% compared to the previous year.
Net sales of the FiberComposites segment reached $1 billion in 2009, representing 54% of the Group’s net sales. Net sales decreased by 12.8% compared to the previous year. The net sales of the Advanced Nonwovens business area decreased the least, down 7.3%. The decline was mainly due to the optimization of the product mix improving profitability and the impact of exchange rate fluctuations. The steepest decline was seen in the Glass & Industrial Nonwovens business area, which was down 23.6%. Thedecrease in the net sales of this business area was the steepest due to the weak demand in the windmill and marine industries in Ahlstrom’s main markets. However, sales of glassfiber tissue and industrial nonwovens, such as wallcovers, increased toward the end of the year, and sales of specialty reinforcements used in windmills and the marine industry seemed to have bottomed out in the fourth quarter.
Net sales of the FiberComposites segment for the fourth quarter were $311 million, representing 53% of the Group’s net sales. The segment’s net sales for the fourth quarter decreased by 2.5% compared to October-December 2008. Net sales increased by 7.4% in the Filtration business area as the customers refilled their inventories toward the end of the year to meet the increasing demand for their products. Net sales in other business areas decreased. The net sales of the Advanced Nonwovens business area fell the most, a decrease of 12.2%, mainly due to exchange rate fluctuations.