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Finland's Ahlstrom-Munksjo to be sustainable specialty materials firm

17 Jun '22
4 min read
Pic: Ahlstrom-Munksjö
Pic: Ahlstrom-Munksjö

Through a clearly defined purpose, sharper strategic focus, and ambitious sustainability targets, Finland’s Ahlstrom-Munksjo is accelerating its pace of execution with the vision to become the preferred sustainable specialty materials company. In the last five years, Ahlstrom-Munksjo has tripled in size through acquisitions, mergers and organic growth.

Following the ownership reorganisation of its decor business, estimated to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2022, it plans to change its business name to Ahlstrom. In early 2021, Ahlstrom-Munksjo launched a number of initiatives to unlock the full potential of the company and build strong capabilities. These initiatives have successfully improved the company’s competitiveness and performance, according to a press release by Ahlstrom-Munksjo.

Ahlstrom-Munksjo is uniquely positioned to capture additional value from the growing markets for fibre-based specialty materials and make a larger contribution to society through its strong market position. Megatrends such as higher air/water quality requirements, restrictions on use of harmful chemicals, increasing health awareness as well as plastic-to-paper substitution and e-commerce in packaging will create growth opportunities. Furthermore, the pandemic has demonstrated the contribution Ahlstrom-Munksjo’s medical products can have to people’s wellbeing and underlines the importance of healthcare as a market for the company.

A more ambitious sustainability strategy with corresponding targets is also launched. The company aims for all new product introductions to serve the purpose to purify and protect and be sustainable by design. While the strategy spans across environmental, social and governance factors, special focus is on immediate improvements in climate performance. Ahlstrom-Munksjo commits to the 1.5°C Science Based Target initiative towards 2030 and to Net Zero emissions by 2050 the latest.

The company will continue to successfully manage a broad portfolio of attractive niche businesses, supported by a tailored operating model. Effective as of July 1, 2022, the group will serve five growing and distinctive end markets, also forming the basis for five divisions, allowing for significant organic and inorganic growth. The divisions will be supported by global functions and centres of excellence for scale, synergies, and excellence, according to Ahlstrom-Munksjo.

The filtration market growth is driven by higher purity and emission standards in automotive and industrial processes. Daniele Borlatto with a background in filtration and performance solutions will continue as EVP of the filtration division.

The food and consumer packaging department offers solutions for improved food safety, product preservation, and bacteria prevention, helping extend product life and protect human health. Mark Ushpol with a background in the paper and packaging industry will continue as EVP of the food & consumer packaging division.

Technologies serving essential societal uses in medical, laboratory, and life science settings including diagnostics, bioprocessing, and medical performance barriers are part of the health department. Market growth is supported by increasing health consciousness, at-home-testing, and the development and use of advanced bioprocessing. Markus Westerkamp will serve as interim EVP of the healthcare division until a new appointment is made. Daniele Borlatto will serve as interim EVP of the building materials division until a new appointment is made.

Sophie Haan, with a background in process and specialty industries, will lead the technical materials division as EVP starting in September 2022 when current EVP, Dan Adrianzon, retires.

Furthermore, a new COO function is established to support the decentralised operating model and drive plant performance improvements. Markus Westerkamp, with a background as EVP of advanced solutions at Ahlstrom-Munksjo, will take on the role as chief operating officer, effective as of July 1, 2022.

“We are now accelerating the pace of strategy execution to build a stronger company for a sustainable future and capture the significant opportunities both to grow and improve profitability. Our strategic ambition for 2025 is to become the leader in combining fibres into performance materials that serve our purpose to purify and protect, with every fibre, for a sustainable world,” president and CEO, Hans Sohlstrom, said in a statement.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (GK)

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