Strong start of the year with coordinated response to coronavirus – change to quarterly guidance
AHLSTROM-MUNKSJÖ STOCK EXCHANGE RELEASE, MARCH 25, 2020 at 10:00 EET
- Comparable EBITDA in Q1/2020 is expected to be higher than in Q1/2019
- Moving from annual to quarterly guidance
- Coordinated responds to the pandemic with a broad health care and life science offering
- Increasing production of face mask materials
Change to quarterly guidance
As of today, all of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s 45 manufacturing plants globally are operating and the exceptional circumstances created by the Coronavirus outbreak have so far been limited. Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s comparable EBITDA in Q1/2020 is expected to be higher than in Q1/2019. The company’s liquidity is strong with no major refinancing needs before 2022. Due to current market circumstances Ahlstrom-Munksjö moves to a quarterly guidance for the time being.
The previous annual guidance stated that comparable EBITDA in 2020 was expected to be higher than in 2019.
During Q1/2020, customer activity has remained on a good level and we expect deliveries to be higher than in Q1/2019. Within our broad range of advanced fiber-based solutions, we experience strong demand in the end-user segments catering to health care and life science industries, which corresponds to 9% of net sales. Our offering include solutions for personal protection equipment such as face masks, drapes and gowns, as well as diagnostics materials for rapid test kits and venting filters for devices used in the treatment of patients with respiratory disorders. We fight the epidemic also by increasing production of face mask materials with machines used for filtration and nonwoven materials. Our technology is unique and generates protection that is better than what is currently available in the market.
Hans Sohlström, President and CEO of Ahlstrom-Munksjö comments the decision. “While all our 45 plants are fully operational and the business has performed well, the uncertainty has grown considerably across many areas. In the current environment, we believe our operating model based on a common global platform and local accountability, as well as our balanced exposure to a broad range of end-uses in multiple industries and geographies provides us clear strength.”
Rapid and coordinated responses to coronavirus
Hans Sohlström continues “The early signs of improving demand that we experienced in the beginning of 2020, has also turned into year-over-year growth in deliveries in January and February. Customer activity has remained at a good level in the beginning of March and we expect deliveries in Q1/2020 to exceed the level in Q1/2019. We have so far managed the exceptional circumstances well thanks to our great team work, something which makes me very proud of the whole organization.
Health and safety of all our employees is of utmost importance, and so is the continuity of our operations. We are taking strong and active measures to protect the wellbeing of our employees, operate our plants and serve our customers simultaneously.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s manufacturing facilities worldwide are operational, and while we have seen some minor issues with logistics and shipping, we are implementing rapid responses to manage those issues on a case-by-case basis. In cases where there has been risk of delays in receiving raw materials, we have rearranged our purchases to prevent possible disruptions.
On January 23, 2020, we initiated a centralized crisis alert team to carry out a Global Pandemic Contingency and Preparedness Response Plan. We have established a Covid-19 Safety Protocol to ensure safe operations and customer service. Our manufacturing plants are maintaining a cohesive set of rules to keep operations running and our employees safe. In addition we are making local adjustments were necessary according to country level or local health and safety regulation and guidance.“
Ahlstrom-Munksjö hosts a live webcast in Finnish for all stakeholders following the Annual General Meeting
In the webcast scheduled March 25, 2020 at 16:00 EET Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s President and CEO Hans Sohlström summarizes in Finnish the company’s strategic progress as well as the financial development in 2019, and comments on the business environment in the beginning of 2020.
Link to the webcast:
Johan Lindh, Vice President, Communications and Investor Relations, tel. +358 10 888 4994
Juho Erkheikki, Investor Relations Manager, tel. +358 10 888 4731
Ahlstrom-Munksjö in brief
Ahlstrom-Munksjö is a global leader in fiber-based materials, supplying innovative and sustainable solutions to its customers. Our mission is to expand the role of fiber-based solutions for sustainable everyday life. Our offering include filter materials, release liners, food and beverage processing materials, decor papers, abrasive and tape backings, electrotechnical paper, glass fiber materials, medical fiber materials and solutions for diagnostics as well as a range of specialty papers for industrial and consumer end-uses. Our annual net sales is about EUR 3 billion and we employ some 8,000 people. The Ahlstrom-Munksjö share is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki and Stockholm. Read more at www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com