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Ahlstrom-Munksjö invests EUR 28 million in biodegradable filter capacity

Finland-headed specialty pulp, paper, and fibre producer Ahlstrom-Munksjö Oyj has announced that it is "reinforcing" its market position and modernizing its production platform in the Beverage & Casing business by purchasing a secondhand Voith paper making line. The unit will be dismantled and transferred to the Chirnside tea and coffee filter manufacturing site in the UK.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö is reinforcing its market position and modernizing its production platform in the Beverage & Casing business by purchasing a secondhand Voith paper making line, to be dismantled and transferred to the Chirnside tea and coffee filter paper manufacturing site in the UK (photo courtesy Ahlstrom-Munksjö Group).

The asset, near state-of-the-art, will be installed on the site where Ahlstrom-Munksjö already has extensive competence and product knowledge in the manufacturing of tea and coffee filter paper and fibrous meat casing materials.

According to the company, the financial benefit of the EUR 28 million investment is attractive and include improved product capabilities, increased manufacturing capacity as well as higher production efficiency. Utilizing existing infrastructure at the site minimizes capital expenditure and shortens the installation period for the investment. The machine is expected to be fully commissioned at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2019.

Addresses constrained capacity

The new production line will strengthen product capabilities and, combined with Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s extensive offering of biodegradable and compostable solutions, enables growth in the attractive tea and coffee markets. The investment addresses also the constrained capacity situation in all three segments; coffee, tea, and casing, and enables the company to respond to growing end-user demand.

This investment will allow us to better serve our existing customers whilst facilitating our growth ambitions. Our UK operations, in particular, the Chirnside site, has extensive capabilities in tea, coffee, and casing. By maximizing our use of the deep product knowledge and skills we can continue to provide innovative and sustainable products to our customers worldwide, said Stuart Nixon, Vice President of Beverage & Casing business.

In the tea bag materials market, where sustainable and plastic-free alternatives are driving demand, Ahlstrom-Munksjö has a leading position with its Fiber+ offering, which is a plastic-free and compostable solution made without oil-based heat seal fibers.

Developed by Ahlstrom-Munksjö, the Fiber+ is heat sealable tea bag made with cellulose and polylactic acid (PLA), a biopolymer usually made of cornstarch that replaces conventional fossil-based plastic fibers. With Fiber+, tea bags can be made to be 100 percent renewable, biodegradable and fully compostable (photo courtesy Ahlstrom-Munksjö Group).

In the single-serve coffee market, the company is a niche supplier with a leading position in the sustainable and compostable segment in Europe and making good progress in the US market.

The investment shows our long-term commitment and our ambition to maintain a leading position in coffee, tea, and casing papers. I’m also encouraged that sustainability and plastic-free solutions are in strong demand because it gives us a strategic opportunity to leverage our competence and innovation capability, differentiate our offering of advanced custom-made fibre-based materials, and strengthen our relationship with our customers, said Omar Hoek, Executive Vice President of Business Area Specialties.

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