Freudenberg in the U.S. -- More than 60 Years of Sustained Growth

Jun 27, 2013, 10:00 ET from Freudenberg Group

PLYMOUTH, Mich., June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- This June marks the fifty-year anniversary of President Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech which often serves as a symbol of stable and constructive relations between the U.S. and Germany. In the fifty years since the speech, economic ties between the U.S. and Germany have grown exponentially, and Freudenberg Group's business in the U.S. has followed the same trajectory.  In the year of the speech, Freudenberg worldwide sales amounted to approximately 270 million USD, with only a small portion generated in the U.S., and last year, Freudenberg companies in North America generated 1.8 billion USD in sales, representing more than 21 percent of the total of 8.2 billion USD of Freudenberg worldwide sales.  Statistics say that more than 3,000 German companies in the U.S. employ more than 700,000 people.  That number includes more than 6,000 Freudenberg employees. 

Freudenberg entered the U.S. manufacturing landscape more than 60 years ago with its first manufacturing facility in Lowell, Mass.  Since then, 15 Freudenberg companies have established their manufacturing locations in the U.S.  In 2012, Freudenberg companies invested close to 100 million USD in their U.S. based businesses, making North America, Freudenberg's largest market after Europe.  Freudenberg's investments are focused around five areas identified the global "buy and build" strategy: chemical surface treatment, medical technology, oil and gas, industrial filtration technology, and vibration control technology while strengthening its business in established markets.

Freudenberg's management structure also reflects the importance of the U.S. market.  Americans hold some of the top positions in the Company.  Since mid-last year, the first non-German Speaker of the Board of the Freudenberg Group is an American, Dr. Mohsen Sohi.  American executives are members of the Global Executive Team, including Leesa Smith, the first woman on the Global Executive Team.  They provide important contribution to Freudenberg's management structure, ensuring full consideration of the U.S. market potential and needs.

Leesa Smith, Freudenberg North America president and regional representative, and a Global Executive Team member, is excited about Freudenberg's prospects in the North American market.  "The U.S. and North America, as a whole, present a steady, mature market which offers attractive growth potential in market segments which Freudenberg views as strategic for its continued, sustainable growth," she says, and adds, "Freudenberg companies in the US continue to grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions.  That growth is recently especially pronounced in automotive, energy – both conventional and renewable, healthcare and IT services."

Strong corporate culture makes cultural and geographic distances easier to bridge. Asked about the challenges of working and living in Germany and leading a German company, Dr. Sohi, Speaker of the Board of Management of the Freudenberg Group, who made the move from Michigan to Germany, says: "I was "ein Freudenberger" (German for 'a Freudenberg employee') in the U.S., and I am 'ein Freudenberger' in Germany.  Our Guiding Principles ensure that working for Freudenberg provides the same experience, no matter the location."

Just as being "ein Berliner" fifty years ago became a lasting symbol of the U.S-German friendship, so has being "ein Freudenberger" become a symbol of commonality in diversity for the worldwide Freudenberg workforce. 

About the Freudenberg Group: The Freudenberg Group is a family company offering its customers technically challenging product solutions and services. The Group is first and foremost a supplier specializing in seals and vibration control technology, nonwovens, filtration, lubricants, and release agents as well as mechatronic products. The end-user can find modern Freudenberg household products in the shops under the brand names of vileda®, O-Cedar® and Wettex®. For mid-size companies, in particular, Freudenberg develops software solutions and IT services. In 2012, the Freudenberg Group employed almost 37,500 people in 57 countries and generated sales of over 8.2 billion USD.

About Freudenberg in North America: Freudenberg North America Limited Partnership is the North American holding company for Freudenberg & Co. of Weinheim, Germany that owns a family of companies which operate 15 unique businesses at 58 locations in North America. Together, these companies provide innovative products and solutions to customers in industries ranging from automotive, aerospace, and medical to chemical, oil and gas, and construction.

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SOURCE Freudenberg Group