Freudenberg continues growth in China without slowing

Beijing, May 22, 2013. For the internationally active Freudenberg Group, 2012 was yet another record-breaking financial year in China. Compared with the previous year, sales rose by about 11 percent to 4.07 billion Yuan (2011: CNY 3.67 billion). The successful trend continued in the first quarter of 2013 with growth in Mainland China of about 13 percent. In 2012, the number of associates in China increased by almost 600 to a total of 5,684. “The share of China in the overall sales of the Freudenberg Group is growing continuously. We are further expanding our production capacity and sales channels and rely on the innovative power of our associates in the country,” said Hanno D. Wentzler, Regional Representative of the Freudenberg Group in Asia and CEO of Freudenberg Chemical Specialities, at the press conference in Beijing.

Over the past ten years, Freudenberg has invested more than two billion Yuan in China. Recently a new factory for automobile and industrial filters was inaugurated in Chengdu. In the near future, the expansion of the Qingpu plant will be completed – a new research and development centre and additional production capacity and offices for chemical specialties are being built here at a cost of about 150 million Yuan. The newly established TrelleborgVibracoustic joint venture is currently doubling its production area in Yantai to about 17,000 square meters.

Freudenberg forges ahead through innovative power
Innovations originating within the Group will be one of the main driving forces for the success of Freudenberg in the future. In 2012, the Freudenberg Group expensed globally a total of about 1.8 billion Yuan for research and development. World-wide 2,244 associates (previous year 2,187 associates) were employed in research and development.

Freudenberg motivates all employees to contribute even more ideas to the company. For this purpose, the “Idea Pool”, an initiative for new business ideas, was established on an international basis – with considerable success in China. Within about six months, associates in China have already submitted more than 500 ideas. The market prospects of these ideas are now being reviewed. Internationally, the Idea Pool has led to the development of an entirely new Freudenberg product, Purtex®, a physiological and environmentally compatible textile finishing agent, entirely free from fluorocarbons, solvents or other materials that are detrimental to human health and the environment.

Purtex® – a new solution for the Chinese textile industry
Innovative Purtex® technology combines high functionality of the treated textiles with the highest possible standards for environmentally compatible production. “In the development of Purtex®, we focused strongly on environmental protection, higher safety levels in production and the protection of consumers. In the selection of raw materials, we ensure that no critical substances are used. This way, we protect the environment, consumers and textile workers,” explained Alex Guo, Purtex Sales Manager, Greater China. Depending on the textile’s intended application, Purtex® can be custom-formulated to create specific characteristics. Purtex® makes textiles soft to the touch, highly durable and wear resistant, water repellent, and UV-resistant.

Purtex® polyurethane emulsions are solvent-free and 100 percent water-based, offering considerable advantages compared with common alternatives. Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have been used for the production of impregnating agents and polymers for 50 years. For many years, some perfluorinated surfactants have attracted attention because they have become widely distributed in the environment and have even been found in human blood and mothers’ milk. The most widely investigated substances are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). These are non-biodegradable, bio-accumulating compounds. These chemicals are therefore seen as critical to human health. With the same quality and functionality, Purtex® is entirely free from deleterious substances and therefore has no harmful effects on human health or nature. Asia, and especially China, is a key market for Freudenberg in view of the large quantities of outdoor and sports clothing manufactured in the region.