The Freudenberg Group in India successfully withstood the challenging economic conditions in the region in 2013. Compared with 2012, sales rose slightly to Rs. 1,128 crore (previous year: Rs. 1,114 crore). "We are investing steadily in this key market to which we are committed in the long-term. The solid development of Freudenberg Group companies in India will have a sustainable positive impact on the entire Group in the long-run," said Dr. Jörg Matthias Grossmann, Regional Representative India of the Freudenberg Group and Chief Financial Officer of Freudenberg Chemical Specialities at the press conference in Bangalore. In 2013 Freudenberg had a direct presence in 32 locations and employed 3,453 associates in India.
In the 165th year of its history, Freudenberg was more successful than ever before on a global scale. In the 2013 financial year, the international technology group reported record sales for the fourth year in succession, on the previous consolidation basis totaling to approximately Rs. 52,000 crore (€6,622.5 million, 2012: €6,321.7 million). This represents an increase of almost €300.8 million or 4.8 percent in euro, which is the Group currency. Adjusted for the effects of acquisitions and disinvestments amounting to Rs. 1,163 crore (€148.1 million) and exchange rate effects, sales increased by 5.4 percent or Rs. 2,661 crore (€338.9 million). The consolidated profit amounted to Rs. 3,153 crore (€401.5 million) and reflected a significant improvement in business operations compared to the previous year (2012: Rs. 2,987 crore or €432.7 million), which included one-off extraordinary items. As of December 31, 2013, the Freudenberg Group employed 39,897 people (previous year: 37,453).
Indian developers to cooperate with international teams
A dedicated innovation culture is one essential cornerstone of the Freudenberg Values & Principles. In 2013 the Group invested Rs. 1,934 crore into R&D aiming to foster its innovative potential. Freudenberg companies in India have proven to be highly valued sources for innovation.
One example is the "no dust broom". Indian specialists from Freudenberg Gala Household Products developed this new cleaning tool specifically for the Indian market in cooperation with German and Italian teams. More than 250 million households in India use brooms made of natural grass to sweep floors. Since these brooms tend to lose grass seeds, causing fine particles, engineers developed synthetic substitutes, copying bionic principles but with an improved performance.
CO2 reduction in the automotive industry
Another innovation example in the area of environmental protection is the global Freudenberg LESS (Low Emission Sealing Solutions) program aiming to reduce CO2 emissions in mobility applications by minimizing friction losses in conventional drivetrain technology, optimizing the combustion process, supporting modern downsizing concepts and start-stop systems, as well as reducing weight. Freudenberg also offers material and sealing solutions for alternative fuels and drivetrain concepts.
Viledon eee.sy (energy efficiency enhancement system) is a third example illustrating Freudenberg's innovative capacities. The program was developed by Freudenberg Filtration Technologies and its Indian partner Thermax and offers an all-in-one inlet air mass enhancement system for gas turbines, engines and compressors. The output of the turbines can be improved by up to 25% - especially in challenging climate conditions. Nowadays the technology, originally invented for the Indian market, is used worldwide, supported by a competence center in India.
Further Investments in India
In accordance with its long-term development strategy, Freudenberg continues to invest in the country. EagleBurgmann KE opened a new state-of-the-art production facility in Chennai in March 2014. Answering the growing demand for fabric and metal expansion joints in India, the company invested Rs. seven crore and started the manufacturing of one-stop solutions to guarantee highest quality in all aspects of production. Providing 6,500 square meters of space, production capacity at the site has doubled. 150 people are currently employed. In addition a new Research & Development facility of EagleBurgmann India, a joint venture of Freudenberg and Japanese EKK Group, was opened in Pune. With state-of-the-art technology and seven new test beds, a wide variety of products are being tested, e.g. dry gas seals for compressors for the oil & gas industry. The investment amounted to Rs. nine crore.
Freudenberg's major investment in India is the production plant in Mysore operated by Klüber Lubrication and Chem-Trend. Today 110 employees produce special lubricants, release agents and chemo technical maintenance products for use in the automotive, energy and food industry. By 2016, when the project which covers an area of 40,400 square meter is scheduled for completion, a further 100 jobs will have been created. With a total investment of Rs. 135 crore the Mysore site will become a major technical center of excellence for customers in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Strategic and social engagement in India
The Freudenberg Group underscored the importance of the Indian market for its global business development by opening the Freudenberg Regional Corporate Center India (FRCCI) in Bangalore in June 2013. Since then the FRCCI has contributed to making the Freudenberg brand in India even more visible and supported Indian Freudenberg Companies with value-added services.
Social responsibility is anchored in the Freudenberg Values & Principles. The Freudenberg Training Center in Nagapattinam, opened in 2008, has already trained almost 350 young Indians and will be further supported by the Group to provide education opportunities to young people in the long run.
In 2013 Freudenberg Filtration Technologies India, located in Pune, won the Freudenberg "We all take care" Award in the category "Corporate Social Responsibility". Since 2010 teams of employees have spent their free day during Diwali working for charitable organizations such as an orphanage, a nursing home or a school for HIV-positive children.