WEINHEIM, Germany—Freudenberg Group expects a difficult macro-economic environment in the 2019 financial year.
"In the face of increasing market volatility, Freudenberg will closely monitor further developments and react flexibly," the German group said during its annual press conference April 10.
The spotlight, Freudenberg said, will be on the trade conflict between the U.S. and China, the Brexit process, as well as a possible slowdown in the automotive sector.
For the year, Freudenberg plans to invest an about $418 million in projects in 2019. Of this amount, about $141 million are to be invested in tangible assets in Germany, including $34 million in Weinheim.
"We are cautious in our planning and anticipate subdued business development in markets relevant to the group for 2019," the company added.
Freudenberg expects maximum sales growth of 1 to 2 percent, and flat profits "in the best-case scenario."
Impacted by negative exchange rate effects of $337 million, the group posted a 1.2 percent year-on-year rise in annual sales at $11 billion for the year 2018.
Profits increased marginally to $1.03 billion last year, compared to $980.5 million in 2017.