Editorial

Supply shake-up: What will it mean for wipes?

September 15, 2011

I don’t know about you but I am still in shock that Ahlstrom is leaving the wipes market. For years, Ahlstrom seemed intent on gobbling up every small- to mid-sized wipes producer on the planet, a strategy that made it the world’s largest wipes substrate supplier. And, even though the company has been in consolidation mode a little more recently, Ahlstrom has continued to offer up innovation in the wipes market. They certainly didn’t seem like a company with an exit strategy.

However, Ahlstrom executives say the sale to Suominen is in sync with its strategy of developing a more focused business product portfolio, and moving forward the company will offer high performance materials that allow its customers to differentiate themselves. Ahlstrom first embarked on this strategy in 2009 and some could argue the company put this plan in place when it first separated wipes from the rest of its nonwovens business by creating the Home & Personal division in 2008.

It still leaves one to wonder what happened in the last couple of years that changed Ahlstrom’s mind about wipes, a market it was once so bullish about.

Of course, even as it sells off this mammoth business, Ahlstrom has not exited wipes entirely. It will remain vested in wipes, becoming—as part of the sale—the largest shareholder of Suominen, who will become the world’s largest wipes supplier after the deal is complete. Also, Ahlstrom did a big favor to the wipes market, selling this business not to a private equity firm, interested only in squeezing every ounce of profit out of it, but to a company already heavily invested in wipes as both a maker of spunlaced fabrics and as a wipes maker through its Suominen Codi wipes business. No doubt, Suominen has the resources and knowledge, not to mention the passion, to continue the impressive rate of innovation and new product development started by Ahlstrom.
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Fear Unfounded

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 15, 2016
    DEET or Zika? The choice seems obvious

  • Dental Care Delivered To Your Door

    Dental Care Delivered To Your Door

    August 8, 2016
    Boka is a subscription service for supplies.

  •  In the Mood

    In the Mood

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||July 25, 2016
    That green lipstick from the 80s returns!

  • Mastering Instagram for Business

    Mastering Instagram for Business

    Lyndsi Stafford, eLuminate Marketing||August 22, 2016
    eLuminate Marketing's Lyndsi Stafford provides five ways

  • Sizzling Summer Hairstyles

    Sizzling Summer Hairstyles

    Philip Pelusi, hair care expert and founder of Tela Beauty Organics by Philip Pelusi P2 by Philip Pelusi and Performance X2||August 8, 2016
    No need for a lifeguard to keep tresses safe and healthy this season.

  • Experience You Need to Succeed

    Experience You Need to Succeed

    Michael Glauser||July 18, 2016
    Successful startups have one of these experiences.