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Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

Ahlstrom Acquires Two Companies, Expands Plant

Ahlstrom Corp., a Finland-based developer, manufacturer and marketer of high-performance fiber-based materials, announced it has acquired the absorbent materials business of FiberMark Inc., Brattleboro, Vt.; will acquire HRS Textile Inc., Darlington, S.C.; and plans to expand the capacity of its Tampere, Finland, plant.

Ahlstrom reports the acquisition of FiberMark’s absorbent and blotting materials business, with net sales of 3 million euros, elevates the company’s position in segments of the specialty filtration market. The company will integrate the FiberMark business into the product offerings of its Mt. Holly Springs, Pa., site. This is the fourth transaction in four years between Ahlstrom and FiberMark, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a private company.

Additionally, Ahlstrom has signed an agreement to acquire specialty nonwovens manufacturer HRS Textile, which focuses on the North American air and liquid filtration markets, and will operate the combined entity as Ahlstrom Air Media LLC. The purchase is part of Ahlstrom’s strategy to grow its business in the air and liquid filtration market, especially in the HVAC segment.

Growth is also occurring at Ahlstrom’s Tampere plant, where 65 employees develop and manufacture filtration and technical nonwoven materials, as the company invests 2 million euros to expand the plant’s production capacity. This is part of Ahlstrom’s long-term development plan for the plant. The company expects to complete the expansion in the fourth quarter of 2006.

“Our accelerated growth and commitment to the global filtration industry has been clearly evident in the past six months with multiple acquisitions in North America and China, technology expansion with fine fiber and nanofiber capabilities, and our announced capacity increases,” said Randal Davis, senior vice president, Filtration. “We are pleased to have active corporate investment support to benefit filtration customers in all geographies.”

March/April 2006