Freudenberg completes realignment of automotive portfolio

The joint venture between the Freudenberg Vibracoustic Business Group and the automotive antivibration activities of Trelleborg lays a viable future foundation for vibration control solutions in the passenger car and commercial vehicle segments. The new joint venture will officially start operating in the binning of the third quarter 2012 under the name of TrelleborgVibracoustic. In addition, negotiations on the molded brake parts activities of Freudenberg have come to a conclusion. Operations in Andrézieux, France, and the molded brake parts business in Oberwihl, Germany, and Querétaro, Mexico, are to be transferred to ContiTech Vibration Control, subject to regulatory clearance. "These two measures conclude Freudenberg's very focused reorganization of its automotive portfolio, which the company initiated several years ago", says Dr. Peter Bettermann, Speaker of the Freudenberg Management Board.

Freudenberg's sale of its Flexitech brake hose activities to its long-standing partner Mitsubishi Corporation in 2008 and the sale of its cylinder head and exhaust gasket business to the automotive supplier ElringKlinger AG in 2011 were two key measures initiated by the Group to focus on its core activities in the automotive sector. In 2010, Freudenberg transferred its minority shareholding in Freudenberg Mektec Europa GmbH which produces flexible circuit boards for automotive gearbox control systems, etc. to its Japanese joint venture partner NOK Corporation.
Halfway through 2011, business in actuators reducing emissions in engines was transferred to the Japanese partner Eagle Industry Co. Ltd., in which Freudenberg also holds a stake.

Dr. Mohsen Sohi, designated speaker of the Freudenberg Group and successor of Dr. Peter Bettermann, describes the strategy as follows: "Apart from systematic organic growth, we also want to expand our core business in sealing technology going forward through targeted acquisitions."

The new joint venture TrelleborgVibracoustic will turn Freudenberg's vibration control technology business for the automotive industry into a market leader, combining the expertise and know-how of two strong partners. Its global position in manufacturing, development, and sales will allow the new company not only to serve its global customers in the automotive industry even better than before, but also to use its potentials and synergies in the most effective way, thus participating in global growth in the automotive sector. This positioning has a strong effect on the company's role as a leading trendsetter for innovative vibration control solutions.

"TrelleborgVibracoustic's expertise in development and production, its financial solidity and its worldwide presence make the company an indispensable partner for all international customers", emphasizes Dr. Mohsen Sohi.

The headquarters of TrelleborgVibracoustic will be located close to Darmstadt. The Management Board of the new company will have equal representation and will consist of Hans-Jürgen Goslar and Norbert Schebesta, both currently members of the Vibracoustic Management Board, and Jim Law and Lennart Johansson, both from the Trelleborg Group. As shareholders, Freudenberg and Trelleborg will provide support for the independently-managed company via the Supervisory Board. About 8,000 associates at 39 locations in 18 countries on four continents will work on vibration control solutions for the automotive industry. In the 2011 financial year, sales by the two joint venture partners amounted to €1.45 billion.