You were recently appointed as the president and CEO of Ahlstrom. Can you explain a bit about Ahlstrom as a company and its vision?
Ahlstrom is a high performance fibre based materials' company operating globally, with net sales of approximately € 1 billion per year. We aim to grow by offering products that enable a clean and healthy environment - such as clean air and water. Ahlstrom is very well known in the industry, especially for its filtration business: we are the number one provider of high performance filtration materials in the world.
How do you see Lithuania as an investment destination for nonwoven companies?
For a company like Ahlstrom, customer service simply has to run smoothly, since we are serving customers all over the world; and our customers depend on us for meeting their own schedules and deliveries. I see great potential in Lithuania, especially in different kind of service industries, since there is so much talent in Lithuania with university level education, business and language skills, etc. I was quite impressed with our newly recruited employees when I met them during the recent inauguration of our customer and finance service center in Vilnius.
Nonwoven industry is a booming industry in the whole of textiles, majorly because it has a high profit margin. Do you agree? Please elaborate your views.
Nonwoven industry offers major opportunities for sustainable growth, since it uses a lot of raw materials that can be renewed and recycled for a wealth of applications. I think every industry has to fight really hard to meet customer needs, and that way maintaining healthy margins. There is still of lot that needs to be done, eg in convincing consumers and customers that single use materials are in many cases a more sustainable solution than traditional materials such as cotton.
With a strong track record in the leading global materials' technology business, what are the latest technological innovations that you see in the nonwoven industry today?
There are many great innovations in the market and many in the pipeline, but the most important trend overall is doing more with less. With this, I mean that we continuously look for opportunities to use lesser raw materials, energy and water, and still achieve the same or even better level of product performance with competitive cost.
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