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March 14, 2022

Lenzing AG appoints new CEO amid strong FY results

Austrian cellulosic fibre producer Lenzing has appointed Stephan Sielaff, former chief technology and chief operating officer Lenzing AG, as its new chief executive officer (CEO), effective 1 April.

By Fi Forrest

Sielaff succeeds Cord Prinzhorn, who took over as interim CEO in the fourth quarter of 2021, with Prinzhorn returning to the Supervisory Board of Lenzing AG.

Peter Edelmann, chairman of the supervisory board said in a statement: “Stephan Sielaff took up his duties at the beginning of the Corona crisis and has shown outstanding efficiency over the two years. His strong presence and leadership qualities convinced the Supervisory Board to offer him the role of future CEO. We are very pleased that he has accepted the offer and that with him someone from within the company will continue to shape the future of Lenzing.”

Stephan Sielaff holds a degree in chemical engineering and held various management positions at Unilever and Symrise from 1993 to 2014. Between 2014 and 2020, he was responsible for the strategic development of the company as a member of the board of directors (COO) at the Swiss specialty chemicals company Archroma. He was appointed chief technology officer and COO of Lenzing AG as of 1 March 2020.

In another change on to the managing board CFO Thomas Obendrauf will not extend his contract and chairman of the supervisory board Peter Edelmann will no longer be available as chairman at the end of the annual shareholders’ meeting.

Obendrauf was responsible on the board for the construction of the new lyocell plant in Thailand.

The “world’s largest” lyocell plant, it has a capacity of 100,000 tonnes to help serve the growing demand for sustainably produced fibres.

The appointment comes as Lenzing reports a strong operating result for 2021, thanks to its strategic focus on wood-based specialty fibres and the predominantly positive market environment. The Lenzing Group recorded a significantly improved revenue and earnings performance in 2021 compared to the previous year.

  • Revenue grew by 34.4% to EUR2.19bn (US$2.4bn) with specialty fibres such as Tencel, Lenzing ecovero and Veocel branded fibres having a positive impact on revenue growth.
  • Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) almost doubled compared to the previous year to reach a level of EUR362.9m from EUR192.3m in 2020.
  • EBITDA margin rose from 11.8% to 16.5%.
  • Net profit for the year amounted to EUR127.7m from a loss of EUR10.6m in 2020.

“Lenzing can be pleased with a strong business year,” noted Cord Prinzhorn, outgoing CEO of Lenzing Group.

“Strategically, Lenzing remains on course despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic. With the start of production at our state-of-the-art lyocell plant in Thailand a few days ago, we are further strengthening our leading position as a supplier of eco-friendly specialty fibres. The completion of our pulp mill in Brazil is imminent. We are very proud to be able to realise these projects – which are so important for Lenzing – both on time and within budget.”

Together with its project in Brazil and investments at its existing sites in Asia, Lenzing says it is currently implementing the largest investment programme in its corporate history at more than EUR1.5bn.

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