In 2020, we were successful in improving our result and developing our business despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Our quick response to the pandemic demonstrated our agility, teamwork and business mindset.
Customer activity improved gradually during the second half of the year as countries and markets adapted to the pandemic. The surge in the number of infections caused countries to reimpose restrictions, but they had no material impact on demand in the fourth quarter as they did earlier in the year. I’m satisfied with our financial performance in the unpredictable market environment. Our profitability improvement was supported by lower costs, partly driven by our own measures. We also made good progress in innovation as sales generated from new products increased to 12%, nearing our long-term target of 15%.
The positive results of our customer and employee surveys signal that we are doing the right things. The customer survey results show that we have further reinforced our position as a global leader in fiber-based solutions. We scored particularly well in categories such as personal contact and technical service, as well as in innovation and sustainability. These are essential for strengthening our partnership with our customers. Likewise the 2020 employee survey results demonstrate very good employee engagement.
On September 24, 2020 a consortium consisting of Ahlström Capital, funds managed or advised by Bain Capital as well as Viknum and Belgrano Inversiones announced a public recommended cash tender offer for all shares in Ahlstrom-Munksjö. On February 9, 2021, it was announced that the consortium’s holdings will exceed 90% and that it intends to initiate compulsory redemption proceedings and apply for the shares to be delisted.
I consider the offer evidence of the good and hard work we have done, and our success in creating an attractive business. Thanks to our joint efforts in 2020, our business is doing well. I am confident that by continuing to work together as one team, we can further accelerate our value creation and create long-term success.
OUTLOOK FOR Q1/2021
Ahlstrom-Munksjö expects demand for its products to remain at the current level.
Updated: February 10, 2021