DETROIT—Despite what it called challenging conditions across multiple market segments, the Freudenberg Group posted profitable growth in 2016 thanks to several key acquisitions.
Taken together, the purchases of Vibracoustic Group and Japan Vilene Co. had the largest positive impact on sales, boosting Freudenberg's revenue by $1.07 billion. Factoring the exchange rate and acquisition effects, Freudenberg said organic growth amounted to 3.7 percent last year.
"We are on track to become one of the most innovative broadly diversified global technology groups," Freudenberg Group CEO Mohsen Sohi said in a statement. "We continue to grow profitably and sustainably, and the implementation of our strategic projects is proceeding fully in line with our plans. This success is the result of the hard work and excellent performance of our more than 48,000 employees worldwide."
In North America, Freudenberg's 11 business groups reported $2.5 billion in sales, an improvement of 15 percent compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the company's employment numbers also rose by 19 percent to 10,156.
These increases, according to Bob Evans, Freudenberg North America president and regional representative, are the result of investments made by the firm throughout the calendar year.
"In 2016, Freudenberg invested $132.5 million in North America," Evans said in a statement. "That represents an increase of more than 16 percent compared to 2015. Investments were made across the board, in all Freudenberg business groups, to manufacturing and research facilities and equipment."
Included in those investments was the expansion of Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies' Morristown, Ind., plant. The move increased manufacturing space, while adding a new product test lab, tool fabrication shop and an updated metrology area.
Also in North America, Freudenberg's Chem-Trend business announced an investment in its global headquarters in Howell, Mich. Freudenberg said the project will expand existing research and development facilities by about 50 percent and will allow for continued growth of its research and development activities.