Ahlstrom broadens its operations in Russia

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Source: Ahlstrom Corporation

Ahlstrom Corporation, global leader in fiber-based materials, today celebrates the inauguration of its new glassfiber tissue production facility in Redkino, Tver Region, Russia. The plant produces glassfiber tissue for Russian construction and plastic composite industries and employs initially 80 people. The Tver plant is Ahlstrom's first fully owned production facility of fiber-based materials in Russia.
 
The investment including the plant facility, glassfiber tissue machine and required infrastructure is worth approximately EUR 40 million. The production capacity of the plant is 250 million square meters per year, which raises Ahlstrom's total glassfiber tissue production capacity in Europe to half a billion square meters. The plant's main product application is cushion vinyl floor coverings and other applications include wall coverings, laminate surface layers, building panels, pipe wrapping and bitumen roofing.
 
'The Tver operation strengthens our position as a leading developer and manufacturer of specialty glassfiber tissues. We have a strong customer base in Russia, which we are now able to serve locally from the plant. Enhancing our local presence also supports our other expansion possibilities in Russia, as well as in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia', says Ahlstrom's CEO Risto Anttonen.
 
Senior Vice President Tommi Björnman, Ahlstrom's Glass Nonwovens Business Area, sees Russia's glassfiber tissue market as a very attractive business for Ahlstrom. 'The growth in glass fiber tissue products is between 15% and 40% depending on the end application. With the Tver plant, we expect to grow our market share in Russia, as we have the state-of-the art technology and production capacity the customers are looking for.'
 
Tver plant's General Director Seppo Mustonen stresses that Ahlstrom brings new jobs to Redkino and stimulates regional economy through its needs for services and subcontractors. The personnel of the plant were recruited from Redkino and Tver. All of the 80 new employees were trained in Karhula plant in Finland. In addition to professional training, they were trained on security and quality issues and familiarized with Ahlstrom's business.
 
Glassfiber tissue products are part of Ahlstrom's growing glass nonwovens business that comprises approximately 8% of the Group's net sales. Besides the Tver plant, glassfiber products is manufactured in Ahlstrom's Finnish plants in Karhula and Mikkeli, and in Bishopville, South Carolina, the USA.
 
In addition to the Tver plant, Ahlstrom has a sales office in Moscow and a minority shareholding in a specialty paper company Troitskaya in the Kaluga region. 
 
Tver investment milestones
 
     Investment decision         March 2006
     Laying the cornerstone    October 2006
     Machinery installation      August 2007
     Operation started            March 2008
     Inauguration                    June 2008

 
TVER region in brief
 
Located in Central Russia about 160 kilometers from Moscow to St Petersburg direction.
Approximately 1.5 million inhabitants, the biggest town is Tver with 400,000 inhabitants.
Rich stocks of water, timber and land.
Situated on crossroads of major routes, i.e. it is the junction of motor, rail and water transportation, electricity transmission lines as well as gas and oil pipelines. The Federal highway Moscow - St Petersburg runs via the region.
The most important sources of livelihood are industry (machine engineering, energy, food processing), agribusiness, construction industry, retailers and transport.
In investment climate the Tver Region has raised up to 24th place in the ranking of 89 Russian regions.

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