Weinheim, Germany – Trelleborg AB and Freudenberg, the 50:50 owners of anti-vibration automotive parts JV Trelleborg Vibracoustic signed an agreement on 7 April under which Trelleborg will sell its shares in the JV to Freudenberg.
Vibracoustic deal: CEO targets growth opportunities
In an interview in Vibracoustic's Balance corporate magazine, CEO Frank Mueller explained that his company would “seek to play an active role in the consolidation process, perhaps by making acquisitions or by entering into alliances.”
According to Mueller, Vibracoustic’s business for components for air suspension is rapidly growing, where the company is offering efficiency measures such as downsizing and lightweight design.
“Take lightweight design for instance, we are working to substitute metals with plastics, optimise designs and integrate functions into one component,” explained Mueller, adding that the new approach saved not only weight but costs too.
Commenting on market trends, he said that Japanese OEMs were warming to European suppliers as they attempt to expand globally.
“They need partners that can offer them global presence and they are also enthusiastic about European technology,” said the CEO, who took over the business in mid-2015.
But Mueller warned that it will take time to win the trust of Japanese customers.
“I am confident that we will be able to build sustainable relationships over the long-term and this also applies for Korea where we have engineering and production capacity,” he said.
As for developing markets, Muller saw different horizons for different regions.
“It’s difficult to be overly optimistic about the Brazilian market at the present time. The macro-economic conditions are very limiting,” said Mueller - though he added that Vibracoustic would continue its presence there.
Russia, he noted, “is a different story”.
According to Mueller, if the country stabilises politically, there is potential in Russia due to its domestic market.
“Unlike our competitors, we still have a small local assembly facility in order to keep our foot in the door,” he added.
The CEO went on to say that China, followed by India, were the largest markets for the company’s products within the so-called “BRIC” states.
(Lead image source: Vibracoustic)