– Technology Groups posts another year of success in India
-Chennai investment underlines long-term orientation
The worldwide technology group Freudenberg has continued its good business development despite challenging economic conditions. In 2017, the German group boosted sales to €9.3 billion or Rs. 68,959 crore. That constitutes a rise of 18.3 percent over the previous year. Freudenberg’s business also performed strongly in India, with sales growing by 25% to Rs. 2,768 crore. This rise is the result of continuous investments in existing and new projects. One example is a new production facility in Chennai.
In India, Freudenberg’s seven Business Groups have a total workforce of some 2,688 employees at around 50 locations – running six R&D centers and 14 production sites with state-of-the-art shop floors.
“We are on track. Our new facility in Chennai is an important next step – not only to grow, but also to underline our long-term commitment to the local market and to support the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” said Georg Graf, Freudenberg Regional Representative India, at the press conference in Chennai. The project has cleared all the legal hurdles and construction work at the site has started. The total investment is around 28 million Euro or Rs. 210 crores.
“These important decisions contribute to the sustainable growth of the entire Group. Both, operationally and strategically, 2017 was a successful year for Freudenberg worldwide,” Graf added. “We are well on our way to being one of the most innovative and efficient technology companies.” The company aims to balance its portfolio further towards generating one-third of sales each in Asia, North America and Europe. Graf said, “The Indian market plays a key role in our existing and future operations, and our diversified and innovative portfolio caters to the demands of India’s industry.”
Innovation is key to Freudenberg’s long-term corporate success. During the year under review, the Group invested more than ever before in innovation and conducted research and development activities in the amount of Rs. 3,157 crore (previous year: Rs. 2,764 crore. This corresponds to 4.6 percent of sales (previous year: 4.3 percent). The share of products less than four years old reached 33.0 percent. An average of 3,445 employees (previous year: 2,751 employees) were employed in research and development.
For Freudenberg, striving together for solutions that support global sustainability is part of its mission to improve living conditions all over the world. The Group’s sustainability strategy is based on six core themes. They are materials, waste, energy, emissions, water and health. “Our solutions are already used in many India industries and we continue to support our local partners with innovative and sustainable products and processes”, Georg Graf said.
The Freudenberg Sealing Technologies’ product portfolio is engineered to reduce weight, fuel consumption, emissions and ease installation challenges in today’s start-of-the-art engines, transmissions and e-mobility platforms.
Freudenberg’s sustainable solutions for the food and apparel industries are essential to the daily lives of tens of millions of Indians. High-performance specialty lubricants from Klüber Lubrication, a Freudenberg Chemical Specialities company, ensure the safe production of condiments and dairy products, while simultaneously lowering energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Responsibility for society and Corporate Citizenship
As a values-oriented, family-owned technology group, success for Freudenberg is not merely defined in terms of financial success, but also always goes hand-in-hand with taking responsibility for society. These two goals have been inseparably linked since the foundation of the company. Sustainability, Occupational health, safety and environmental protection (HSE), Corporate Citizenship, Compliance, Human Rights & Labor are anchored in Freudenberg’s values and principles.
For Freudenberg, commitment to Corporate Citizenship goes beyond the value chain. In addition to a number of measures, the objective of the “e²” (education and environment) international program is to give people access to education and work and to encourage environmental protection. Freudenberg is currently making a total of €14 million available over 7 years. From the launch of the initiative in the summer of 2015 up to the end of 2017, funding was approved for 60 projects, from small actions to major education programs in the direct neighborhood of Freudenberg sites.
As part of its e² program, the Freudenberg Group and its local employees are fostering the education of poor children in Bengaluru. The Group is contributing financially to the Parikrma Humanity Foundation, a non-profit organization that local Freudenberg employees in India have been visiting over the years. Parikrma runs four centers for learning, including a kindergarten and school as well as a junior college, and has a clear mission: providing under-privileged children from the slums of Bengaluru with a high quality education, excellent English language skills and the confidence to dream big – even about international careers.
Freudenberg, the values-based technology group, works continuously to fulfill the promise of its global brand positioning statement: Freudenberg best serves its customers and society. The Freudenberg Training Centre in Nagapattinam, India is one more such initiative which lies at the heart of Freudenberg’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative in India. The Centre was originally established back in 2008, following the devastating tsunami which hit South East Asia in 2004. Freudenberg made it a point to give back to society through the provision of training for young people, opening up opportunities for them to help themselves, at the same time as boosting the region’s economy. “We recognize that skills development is essential as part of the drive to build on India’s socio-economic infrastructure. Bridging the critical gap between manpower availability and employability is important to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities,” said Georg Graf, Regional Representative India.