Marco Levi, President & CEO of Ahlstrom comments:
“We continued to improve our financial performance in the quarter, driven by improved results in the Filtration and the Food and Medical business areas. We have seen a positive impact from our enhanced pricing and product mix, while foreign currency fluctuations also had a positive impact. The Building and Energy business area suffered from low volumes and an adverse currency effect.
“The program to improve the results of our commercial operations has now been extended to all our business areas, and the benefits are already visible. We are also moving ahead at full speed with the other key priorities of our roadmap, and will continue to focus on selling, general and administrative cost reductions by streamlining our office structure.”
Ahlstrom reiterates the outlook published in January 29, 2015. The company expects net sales in 2015 to be in the range of EUR 1,000-1,100 million. The operating profit margin excluding non-recurring items is expected to be 3.5-5% of net sales. In 2015, investments excluding acquisitions are estimated to be approximately EUR 35 million (EUR 45.4 million in 2014).
Uncertainly related to the global economic growth poses risks to Ahlstrom’s financial performance. Slower-than-anticipated growth may lead to lower sales volumes and force the company to initiate more market-related shutdowns at plants, which could affect profitability.
Further swings in foreign currency exchange rates may lead to fluctuations in net sales and profitability. Combined with the uncertainty related to global economic growth and increased volatility in our main markets, it is more challenging to forecast future developments.
Ahlstrom’s main raw materials are wood pulp, chemicals, and synthetic fibers. The prices of these key raw materials are volatile, and possible increases can affect the company’s profitability depending on its ability to mitigate the risk.
In recent years, Ahlstrom has undertaken investment projects, such as the wallcoverings production line in Binzhou, China, that are in a start-up phase. The company’s financial results may be negatively affected by the performance of the new production lines.
The general risks facing Ahlstrom’s business operations are described in greater detail on the company website at www.ahlstrom.com and in the report by the Board of Directors in the company’s Annual Report for 2014. The risk management process is also described in the Corporate Governance Statement, also available on the company’s website.
This report contains certain forward-looking statements that reflect the present views of the company’s management. The statements contain uncertainties and risks and are thus subject to changes in the general economic situation and in the company’s business.