In Finland, Ahlstrom, which is based in Helsinki, has started negotiations with personnel representatives that may lead to temporary layoffs of around 250 persons of the total 560 at its Karhula and Mikkeli sites manufacturing glass nonwoven products. Permanent layoffs have not been excluded. All 60 employees at the Tampere site producing filtration materials may be temporarily laid off.

Ahlstrom is also in negotiations on a permanent closure of its nonwoven wiping fabric sites Gallarate and Carbonate in Italy, and the closure of one production line in Cressa impacting around 60 employees. The measures will start in the first quarter of 2009.

Worldwide, Ahlstrom is planning a further reduction of 150 employees in the Specialty Papers and Fiber Composites segments.

Ahlstrom says it is booking €23 million in restructuring charges and write-downs in the fourth quarter of 2008 in relation to the actions.

The company has also released preliminary results for the full year 2008 reporting operating profits of €40 million, down 41.2% from 2007 excluding non-recurring items. Including the restructuring measures and write-downs, operating profits will be around €17 million. Net sales are expected to be up 2.2% to €1.8 billion.