Ahlstrom, a global leader in nonwovens and specialty papers, today announces the exit from most of its Dust Filtration material businesses through the sale of the Wuxi plant in China and three production lines in Bethune in the USA to Andrew Industries. The value of the transaction is approximately EUR 5.3 million. Dust Filtration is part of Ahlstrom's Filtration Business area.
Both plants make dust filtration materials used in applications such as bag house filtration for pollution control. Ahlstrom has concluded that dust filtration materials produced at the Wuxi and Bethune sites do not fit strategically its product portfolio. The Wuxi plant in the Jiangshu province employs about 40 people.
In Bethune, South Carolina, Andrew will transfer the three dust filtration production lines to its own sites. The transaction will affect the 48 people employed at the Dust Filtration business, while Ahlstrom will investigate possibilities to offer employment for some of the staff. The Bethune plant currently employs about 190 people in total. Ahlstrom will continue to manufacture nonwovens for wipes and advanced liquid filtration products at the site. Both transactions are expected to be completed by the end of first quarter 2011. Ahlstrom will book approximately EUR 5.2 million as a non-recurring loss from the transaction in its fourth-quarter 2010 financial results. The completions of the transactions are subject to customary closing terms.
Asia remains a key strategic growth region for Ahlstrom. The company acquired in September a transportation filtration material plant in Binzhou, China and announced in October a joint venture with Yulong Paper Co. in Longkou for production of crepe papers in the country. The Group currently generates about 10 percent of its annual net sales from Asia.