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Finland's Ahlstrom launches refined strategy, simplifies divisions

01 May '24
3 min read
Finland's Ahlstrom launches refined strategy, simplifies divisions
Pic: Ahlstrom


  • Ahlstrom refines strategy, streamlines divisions into filtration, life sciences, food packaging, protective materials.
  • Enhanced capabilities address global trends: clean air, water, sustainable packaging, electrification.
  • It strengthens Ahlstrom's position in the market, enabling it to better serve customers' needs and contribute to a more sustainable world.
Ahlstrom continues to strengthen its leadership position by defining strategic pillars for growth and simplifying its divisional structure from five to three.

Over the last two years, Ahlstrom has launched a new purpose and strategy, implemented a new operating model, and reorganised key parts of the business, including divestment of the Decor business and divestment of the Stenay plant in France. Strengthened capabilities in procurement, pricing, and operational excellence have boosted profitability and margin quality despite challenging market conditions. As Ahlstrom continues its transformation, the company is well positioned to capture growth by addressing global trends. Among the biggest challenges in the coming years are the transition toward clean air and water, personalized healthcare, sustainable packaging and protection, decarbonised buildings, and electrification. Sustainable materials will be needed to address each of these trends, the company said in a press release.

To capitalise on these market opportunities, Ahlstrom has defined five strategic pillars: Growth Acceleration, Safe & Sustainable Innovation Leadership, Operational Strength, Cash Discipline, and Engaged Employees. Together, these strategic pillars will enable each of Ahlstrom’s business units to advance their ability to lead in existing markets or to enter new markets in response to one or more global trends. With a clear strategic focus and intentional resource allocation, Ahlstrom aims to generate above GDP organic growth, healthy margins, and strong cash conversion in the coming years, while being recognised on the market as the preferred sustainable specialty materials company and continuing to operate in line with its purpose to purify and protect with every fibre for a sustainable world.

To support the strategy, Ahlstrom is simplifying its divisions from five to three: filtration and life sciences, food and consumer packaging, and protective materials. This means that the former filtration and healthcare divisions merge to form filtration and life sciences division, food and consumer packaging remains the same, and the former building materials and technical materials divisions form the new protective materials division. The new divisional structure ensures that Ahlstrom’s technology can be better deployed to address global trends with safe and sustainable specialty solutions. In addition, product management will be elevated in the business units and across the divisions to further accelerate the transition towards a more specialty portfolio, and to support the journey to safe & sustainable innovation leadership.

The business units and plants remain the heart of Ahlstrom’s business and operations and their structure will not change. The streamlined structure will drive simplicity, take out cost and will allow the business units to further focus on driving growth.

“We are taking further steps to become the sustainable specialty materials company with our refined strategy and simplified organisation that is best equipped to support our customers and the world to address global trends. Our products touch the lives of people on a daily basis, from more sustainable and safe solutions for food and beverage packaging, to filtration materials for cleaner air and water, to materials that support better healthcare and life science diagnostics. Our sustainable specialty solutions add value for customers and consumers globally while contributing to a better world. With our strong focus on innovations that are safe and sustainable by design, I’m filled with confidence in Ahlstrom’s future,” said Helen Mets, president and CEO of Ahlstrom.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (RR)

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