Ahlstrom generated first quarter sales of $569 million compared to $485 million, an increase of 17.3% from the same period a year earlier.
Net sales of the FiberComposites segment totaled $299 million, representing 52% of the group’s net sales. The segment net sales grew 10.9%, compared to January-March 2009.
Net sales of the filtration business area increased 21.7%, attributable to the increased demand resulting form the overall recovery of the world economy. Net sales of the Advanced Nonwovens business area, however, decreased 3.1%, mainly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
Net sales of the Specialty Papers segment amounted to $274 million, representing 48% of the group’s net sales. Net sales of the entire segment were 24.8% higher than in the first quarter of 2009. The sales volumes of release and label papers, posters, industrial papers, coated specialty papers and crepe paper increased. The sales of specialty paper products for the automotive, construction and textile industries picked up notably compared to the comparison period.
Net sales of the Glass and Industrial Nonwovens sector increased 11.9% in the first quarter 2010 from the same period in 2009.
Jan Lang, president/CEO said, “In the first quarter, our profitability improved from the comparison period despite increasing raw material prices. Profitability was improved by the growth in sales volumes due to the recovery of demand and by the restructuring measures carried out last year. The efficiency improvement measures will be continued. The increase in the prices of raw materials, which has continued since last summer, has caused cost pressure, but we have mainly been able to implement corresponding increases in our sales prices. The growth of net sales in Asia was strong, and, in accordance with our updated strategy, we are currently actively assessing growth alternatives in Asia.”