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Ahlstrom posts near flat sales in Q3
31
Oct '08
During the July-September period, Ahlstrom's group net sales grew by 1.4%, amounting to EUR 451.2 million (EUR 444.9 million) compared with the same period last year. Organic growth in the net sales was still strong, as comparable net sales grew by 6.9% adjusted for the currency effect, acquisitions and closures from the same period last year. Comparable volume growth adjusted for acquisitions and closures was 2.7%.

The Fiber Composites segment accounted for 55% and the Specialty Papers segment 45% of the Group net sales.

The net sales of the Fiber Composites segment amounted to EUR 249.3 million (EUR 249.8 million), decreasing by 0.2% on the third quarter of 2007. The decrease was a result of the currency effect and the closing of unprofitable units during 2008. Comparable net sales grew by 7.2% and the comparable volume development was flat.

Within the segment, organic growth was especially strong in the Advanced Nonwovens business area thanks to a brisk demand for medical applications. Also the Glass Nonwovens business area posted an increase both in net sales and volumes as a result of strong demand for windmill applications.

In the Home & Personal Nonwovens and Filtration business areas, net sales decreased due to lower volumes in wipes and automotive filtration, plant closures and the currency effect.

The Specialty Papers segment reported net sales of EUR 204.0 million (EUR 196.3 million), up by 4.0% from the third quarter of 2007. Comparable net sales grew by 7.0% and comparable volumes by 4.3% from the third quarter last year. Within the segment, net sales grew particularly strongly in wallpapers, vegetable parchment and crepe papers, while abrasive base papers and poster papers reported lower sales and volumes.

In terms of geographical areas, Europe still dominated Ahlstrom's net sales split, accounting for 53% (60%) of the Group total. The relative share of Europe still decreased, as growth was strongest in South America as a result of completed acquisitions and a good demand for certain of Ahlstrom's products, such as transportation filtration materials and labels.

Net sales in January-September 2008:
In January-September 2008, Group net sales amounted to EUR 1,383.4 million (EUR 1,298.3 million), growing by 6.6% on the corresponding period in 2007. Comparable net sales adjusted for the currency effect, acquisitions and closures grew by 6.9% from the same period last year. Comparable volumes adjusted for acquisitions and closures grew by 3.9%.

The Fiber Composites segment accounted for 55% and the Specialty Papers segment 45% of the Group net sales.

The net sales of the Fiber Composites segment grew to EUR 758.3 million (EUR 691.7 million), up by 9.6% from the previous year. Comparable net sales adjusted for the currency effect, acquisitions and closures grew by 8.8% from the same period last year. Comparable volumes grew by 4.8%.

The Specialty Papers segment reported net sales of EUR 630.7 million (EUR 610.3 million), growing by 3.3% from the third quarter of 2007. Comparable net sales adjusted for the currency effect, acquisitions and closures grew by 5.0%. Comparable volumes grew by 3.8%.

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