December 4, 2012 / 4:01 PM / 5 years ago

Restructured Ahlstrom looking to get back to growth

HELSINKI, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Finnish group Ahlstrom , near the end of a period of restructuring, is to step up efforts to grow, both organically and through acquisitions, to reach long-held profitability goals.

“The starting point remains that we must achieve ROCE of 13 percent. Our view is that it is a realistic target, which will be achieved once we have set things straight,” chief executive Jan Lang told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We have a good pipeline for new products, we have strengthened our product development and increased activity in the market.”

Ahlstrom, which makes fibre composites for filters, medical gowns and food packaging, last year sold its wipes business.

Last week, shareholders ratified a move to spin off its speciality paper business by merging it with Swedish firm Munksjo and listing the new group in Helsinki early next year.

The group’s continuing operations will have sales of around 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) this year.

Ahlstrom shares were up 1.9 percent in late trading. ($1 = 0.7650 euro) (Editing by Dan Lalor)

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