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From tannery to global nonwovens company: Suominen celebrates its 120th anniversary

Suominen Corporation   Press release   16 April 2018 at 1:00 pm (EEST)

From tannery to global nonwovens company: Suominen celebrates its 120th anniversary

Suominen, a globally leading nonwovens company, is celebrating its 120-year history. Mr. Juho Wiktor Suominen (1877–1935) established a tannery workshop in Nakkila, Finland on 16 April 1898. Even today, one of Suominen Corporation’s eight production plants is located at the same site.

Juho W. Suominen’s company started out handcrafting leather for local shoemakers, but by 1908, thanks to increasing demand from the shoe industry in Finland, the company was already operating a factory-like tannery powered by a steam engine. Later, the weakening position of the shoe industry and new alternatives to leather entering the market forced the company to change its course, and in 1965 Suominen started manufacturing nonwoven products, e.g., carpeting, wadding and single-use wipes, in addition to leather. Since then, Suominen Corporation has produced faux fur and plastic bags, among other things, but from 2014 onwards Suominen has been a purely nonwovens company. Today, Suominen’s nonwovens are used as raw material for wipes, sanitary napkins, swabs and many other products.

The Suominen family sold its stake in the company in 1984 and, since then, Suominen has been involved in many acquisitions and divestments of businesses. Suominen, as it is today, was born in 2011, when it acquired Ahlstrom Corporation's Home and Personal wipes fabrics business area, becoming overnight a market-leading company with operations on three continents.

“Suominen has shed its skin many times in its history. The entrepreneurial mindset that Juho W. Suominen rooted in the company during his time has been vital throughout the years, and we continue to cherish it. That is why we call Suominen a community of changemakers,” says Nina Kopola, President & CEO, Suominen Corporation.