"Freudenberg reported above-average, profitable growth both overall and in almost all sectors. This process was underpinned by the measures we introduced during the recent global economic crisis," says Peter Bettermann, speaker of the management board, who spoke at an annual press conference held in Weinheim, Germany, April 4. "Our commitment in growth regions has paid off. The booming economies in Asia in particular brought above-average growth rates. We were obliged to cope with substantial increases in the price of materials and compensate for weak economic conditions in the Mediterranean countries, but we largely succeeded in doing that."
The improvement in profit from operations, which rose by approximately €75 million to €505 million, was chiefly attributable to the increase in contribution margins as a result of higher sales. Consolidated profit improved by roughly €37 million to €358 million. Cash flow from operating activities was limited to approximately €382 million, chiefly due to locked up working capital as a result of growth and to higher investment. This corresponds to a reduction of €86 million compared with the previous year. At year-end 2011, the company’s workforce totaled 37,031 employees, a year-on-year increase of 2,712 or 7.9 percent.
Looking forward, according to the company, acquisitions will continue to concentrate on the market segments of electroplating, medical technology, oil and gas, filtration and vibration control for rail vehicles, wind turbines and agricultural and construction machinery. The company will focus more closely on specific market segments and will harness synergies from cross-Business Group collaboration, particularly in the field of research and development.