Maureen Wallenfang, Appleton Post-CrescentPublished 11:22 a.m. CT Oct. 10, 2018
KAUKAUNA - Ahlstrom‐Munksjo completed its purchase of Expera Specialty Solutions Tuesday for $615 million. The sale was first announced July 23.
The 135-year-old Expera specialty paper mill at 600 Thilmany Road, previously known as Thilmany Pulp and Paper Co., will be renamed Ahlstrom‐Munksjo. Between its corporate offices and mill operation, it has about 700 employees.
"This is great news for Outagamie County," said county executive Tom Nelson. "Ahlstrom-Munksjo is an industry leader respected around the globe."
Besides the Thilmany mill, the sale includes Expera’s Nicolet plant in De Pere and Expera mills in Mosinee and Rhinelander. The total workforce in Wisconsin is about 1,900 employees.
Nelson said the acquisition secures good-paying jobs in Wisconsin.
"Today's news affirms what we have known all along. We're good at making paper," he said.
Operations at the Kaukauna mill and its three sister mills in Wisconsin are expected to continue normally under the new owner and employment will be unchanged, said local Expera spokeswoman Addie Teeters.
“This is positive news for the state of Wisconsin. To be part of a public, long-term global platform creates a lot of stability for us,” she said.
More information on the impact of the acquisition will be announced in Ahlstrom‐Munksjo’s fourth-quarter report, according to a company release.
The company is publicly traded and is based in Helsinki, Finland, with annual net sales equivalent to about $2.6 billion. Ahlstrom‐Munksjo currently produces décor paper, filter media, release liners, abrasive backings, nonwovens, electrotechnical paper and other specialty papers.
Expera produces specialty paper products for industrial and technical use, food packaging and processing and pressure-sensitive release liner sectors. Since 2013, it has been owned by KPS Capital Partners, a private equity firm.
The acquisition will expand the Helsinki firm's presence in North America, said Ahlstrom‐Munksjo president and CEO Hans Sohlstrom.
“It will further strengthen our position in fiber-based materials and enable us to offer more value to our customers, particularly in North America, but also around the world,” he said in a release.
Russ Wanke, the former President and CEO of Expera, has been appointed executive vice president, North America Specialty Solutions, and a member of Ahlstrom‐Munksjö’s executive management team.