Ahlstrom announces further restructurings and gives preliminary information on 2008 results

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Source: Ahlstrom Corporation

Ahlstrom Corporation announces that it 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 the representatives of the personnel on a permanent closure of its Gallarate and Carbonate sites, as well as on a closure of one production line in Cressa. The measures will be implemented gradually starting from the first quarter of 2009, with an estimated reduction impact of approximately 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 the negotiations may lead to temporary layoffs for approximately 60 persons. Ahlstrom's plants in Karhula and Mikkeli produce glass nonwovens products, and they employ altogether 560 people. 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.
 
Restructuring charges and non-cash write-downs of EUR 23 million
 
Related to the actions, Ahlstrom books a non-recurring restructuring charge of EUR 7 million in its fourth quarter of 2008.
 
In addition, Ahlstrom will book a non-cash write-down on goodwill and tangible assets of EUR 16 million, mostly related to nonwoven wiping fabrics.
 
The distribution of above mentioned restructuring charges and write-downs of EUR 23 million by reporting segment is the following: Specialty Papers EUR 2 million and Fiber Composites EUR 21 million.
 
Full-year operating profit approximately EUR 40 million excluding non-recurring items
 
According to preliminary information, Ahlstrom's full year operating profit for 2008 will be approximately EUR 40 million (EUR 68 million in 2007) excluding non-recurring items. Including the above mentioned restructuring measures and write-downs, the operating profit will be approximately EUR 17 million.
 
Net sales in 2008 are estimated to be approximately EUR 1,800 million (EUR 1,761 million in 2007).
 
Ahlstrom issues the financial statements bulletin 2008 on February 5, 2009.

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