Strict proactive measures were taken at a very early stage of the pandemic to protect our employees’ safety and wellbeing, which has ensured that our operations have continued to run safely and with limited impacts.
Regarding Suominen’s business, the demand of nonwovens for cleaning and disinfecting wipes as well as nonwovens for medical purposes has increased and consequently our sales volumes increased in all our markets towards the end of the first quarter of 2020.
The higher demand is expected to continue in the short term, however in the second half of the year the demand surge caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may already have calmed down. In the longer term the pandemic may lead to continued increased demand for nonwovens for cleaning and disinfection applications.
The risks include possible shortages of raw materials as well as potential closures of customers’ or our own plants due to virus infections or authority decisions. Issues linked to logistics may also arise.
The situation is monitored closely at all times and we have identified risk mitigation measures such as utilization of supplementary raw material sources. So far, in the jurisdictions where other business activities have been shut down, the authorities have classified our nonwovens production as essential in fighting the pandemic.
We have developed nonwovens for various healthcare needs, including facemasks and protective clothing. Our materials have been tested in Finland and they have met the requirements in terms of filtration efficiency and pressure drop for materials to be used by healthcare professionals. We have invested in upgrading one of our existing production lines in Nakkila in Finland to enable the large-scale production of these materials.