HELSINKI (News release) -- Ahlstrom-Munksjö now takes the next step in its strategy execution. Through a clearly defined purpose, sharper strategic focus and ambitious sustainability targets, the company is accelerating its pace of execution with the vision to become the Preferred Sustainable Specialty Materials Company. Following the ownership reorganization of its Decor business, estimated to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2022, Ahlstrom-Munksjö plans to change its business name to Ahlstrom.
In the last five years, Ahlstrom-Munksjö has tripled in size through acquisitions, mergers and organic growth. In early 2021, Ahlstrom-Munksjö 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, resulting in a strong 2021 with pro forma net sales of EUR 3.1 billion (2020: EUR 2.7 billion) and comparable EBITDA of EUR 398 million (2020: EUR 334 million).
Ahlstrom-Munksjö is uniquely positioned to capture additional value from the growing markets for fiber-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-Munksjö's medical products can have to people's wellbeing and underlines the importance of healthcare as a market for the company.
"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 fibers into performance materials that serve our purpose to Purify and Protect, with Every Fiber, for a Sustainable World. Sharper strategic focus, more ambitious sustainability targets, and a tailored operating model will enable us to effectively address attractive and distinctive end markets to further enhance our competitive advantages and value creation for our stakeholders," says President and CEO Hans Sohlström.
A more ambitious sustainability strategy with corresponding targets is also launched. We aim 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-Munksjö 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 centers of excellence for scale, synergies, and excellence.
The five end markets and corresponding divisions are presented below, and their relative size in terms of net sales and comparable EBITDA are illustrated on the company's website. The five end-markets and corresponding divisions are:
Filtration - Mission-critical air and liquid filtration applications. 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.
Food & Consumer Packaging - Solutions for improved food safety, product preservation, and bacteria prevention, helping extend product life and protect human health. Market growth is driven by a shift towards home delivery and e-commerce, and sustainable substitution of plastic with paper. Mark Ushpol with a background in the paper and packaging industry will continue as EVP of the Food & Consumer Packaging division.
Healthcare - Technologies serving essential societal uses in medical, laboratory, and life science settings including diagnostics, bioprocessing, and medical performance barriers. 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.
Building Materials - Highly engineered building material applications for every face of the building. Market growth is driven by urbanization and increasing demand for sustainable building materials. Daniele Borlatto will serve as interim EVP of the Building Materials division until a new appointment is made.
Technical Materials - Highly technical applications including protective materials such as insulation, precision coating, tape, and others. Market growth is driven by increasing performance characteristics in demanding technical applications, emission reductions, and substitution of plastics to paper. 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.
"I am happy to welcome Sophie Haan as the new EVP of Technical Materials. I also want to thank Dan Adrianzon for his valuable and successful work for the company for more than two decades, as he has decided to retire from his position as EVP of Technical Materials. His engagement and dedicated leadership has contributed to building a better and stronger company. I wish Dan all the best for his well-deserved retirement," says President and CEO Hans Sohlström.
Furthermore, a new COO function is established to support the decentralized operating model and drive plant performance improvements. Markus Westerkamp, with a background as EVP of Advanced Solutions at Ahlstrom-Munksjö, will take on the role as Chief Operating Officer, effective as of July 1, 2022. New EVP appointments for Healthcare and Building Materials divisions will be communicated later.
As announced on May 23, 2022, the company will divest the majority share of the Decor business, which will operate under the Munksjö name in the future. The Decor business has operated under the Munksjö brand for more than 25 years, and although in recent years under the Ahlstrom-Munksjö brand, the business is most commonly known as simply "Munksjö". The planned divestment is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2022, following which Ahlstrom-Munksjö plans to change its business name to Ahlstrom.