1. The Freudenberg Group is a very widely diversified enterprise. It developed organically, by seizing favorable opportunities - like the invention of the Simmer ring and of nonwovens in the thirties - and by systematic expansion of its business activities - like the thrust into foreign markets undertaken during the fifties.
Today, the lines of business operating within the group are very different in terms of their markets, their technologies, and other special features. However, about three-quarters of our sales go to customers from the processing industries - and there is thus a shared core of business thinking.
The Freudenberg Group must remain broadly diversified; it is this structure which lends it its valuable stability. In belonging to the group as a whole, the various business operations gain a special, shared identity and a support permitting them to gear their strategy to long-term planning.
The Freudenberg Group must remain a one-hundred-percent family enterprise. This means a high equity capitalization of at least 40 % is essential. This in turn necessitates not only adequate profitability, but also a proper balance between capital investments and cash flow.
The group is open to joint ventures with other companies, if these will usefully complement or further strengthen our business operations. Relationships with our associates in these ventures must be based on fairness and personal trust.
The Freudenberg Group has its headquarters at the original Weinheim location, which forms part of its identity, and where substantial resources of knowledge, tradition and infrastructure are gathered in one place. Weinheim is to remain a significant production location in the future as well. This requires that the Weinheim-based facilities, like all the others at home and abroad, hold their own against their competitors in terms of performance and costs.