In a volatile and difficult environment, the technology group Freudenberg SE, Weinheim/Germany, continued its good business development in 2018. Sales increased by 1.7% to €9.46 billion.
To secure the group’s future, in total Freudenberg invested some €555 million in 2018 (2017: €670 million) including about €175 million in acquisitions (2017: €170 million) and about €380 million in production plant, tangible assets, buildings and intangible assets.
In the nonwovens and filtration business segment, sales amounted to €1.90 billion (2017: €1.91 billion). Although the Business Group achieved organic sales growth, sales expressed in euros were lower as a result of negative exchange rate effects. On the cost side, the profit margin in all divisions was affected by further rises in raw material and energy prices, particularly in the 2nd half of the year.
The carpet tiles business and the “Advanced Wound Care” segments were the only operations to record growth in all world regions. While the “Automotive” segment grew in Asia, business tailed off in the USA and Europe after a good start to the year.
There was growth in the apparel market in Turkey, China, India and South East Asia, but the market still faltered in Western Europe and the USA.
There was business growth in shoe components and special applications such as Evolon, energy cables and adsorption products.
Business for Japan Vilene Company in its important Japanese market was mixed. Developments in the Air Filters Materials and Electrical Materials business remained positive, while the situation in Medical Materials continued to be difficult.