Freudenberg and Trelleborg enter into global cooperation

Weinheim. February 1, 2012. The Freudenberg Group and the Trelleborg Group have signed a contract to form a 50:50 joint venture. The signing lays the foundation stone for the start of a cooperation between the Freudenberg Business Group Vibracoustic, and Trelleborg's automotive antivibration businesses. The contract is conditional upon approval by the relevant bodies and especially the European anti-trust authorities.

As announced in January 2011, when a Letter of Intent was signed by both parties, reaffirmed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2011, the new joint venture brings together the respective automotive vibration control activities of both companies. The contracts, paving the way for the formation of the new joint venture, were signed yesterday evening. The joint venture will harness the strengths of both companies. It will develop and manufacture vibration control solutions and products for all automakers and vehicle segments in the automotive industry's major regions worldwide.

The Management Board of the new joint venture will have equal representation. From Freudenberg - Hans-Jürgen Goslar and Norbert Schebesta, both currently Members of the Vibracoustic Management Board - will take on this responsibility. The speaker of the Management Board will be held by the current Vibracoustic Board Chairman, Hans-Jürgen Goslar.

The Supervisory Board of the new joint venture will also have equal representation, three members from Freudenberg and three from Trelleborg Group. Chairman of the supervisory board will be Peter Nilsson, CEO of Trelleborg Group.

"The global economic crisis and its far-reaching effects on the automotive industry have demonstrated that only those suppliers who are technically strong, financially solid and with a broad, global presence will be successful in the long-term. With the establishment of a focused and independent joint venture, Freudenberg and Trelleborg will be ideally placed to meet these requirements," explains Dr. Peter Bettermann, Speaker of the Management Board of the Freudenberg Group.

Against the background of consolidation currently taking place in the automotive industry, the new joint venture sees itself in the future as a global player in the field of vibration control solutions. Until now, Vibracoustic's products have been aimed at vehicles in the medium-sized and luxury segments, whereas Trelleborg Automotive has a strong market position in the smaller and medium-sized vehicle segments. In bringing the two companies together, growth potential can be optimized, as the new joint venture will be able to supply all vehicle classes.

Dr. Martin Stark, Member of the Management Board of the Freudenberg Group, underlines, "Trelleborg and Vibracoustic have considerable development and production expertise in the field of vehicle vibration control products and solutions in all of the world's regions and will be able to offer excellent value and service to both large existing automakers, as well as new players in growth markets."

In the 2010 financial year, Vibracoustic generated sales of around € 600 million and employed about 3,100 people. Guided by its vision "We convert noise and vibration into sound and comfort," Vibracoustic's 24 sites offer products and solutions tailored to the needs of all markets and all leading automotive manufacturers.

The part of Trelleborg Automotive included in the joint venture, relates to the antivibration business for light and heavy vehicles. At year-end 2010, this area accounted for about 75 percent of sales in Trelleborg Automotive and had annual sales of approximately € 630 million. Over 5,000 people were employed in this area. The new joint venture only involves the vibration control technology business area of Trelleborg Automotive. Trelleborg's other operations are not affected by the formation of the new Company.

At year-end 2010, total annual sales for the joint venture were estimated at approximately € 1.2 billion, with 8,100 employees in 17 countries.