Röchling Continues Expansion

  • Considerable Expansion of Manufacturing Network
  • Impressive Innovations at Röchling Automotive
  • Investments in Training and Development Centers
  • Largest Sheet Planer in the World Begins Production

Mannheim, Germany, June 19, 2008...The globally operating Röchling Group, based in Mannheim, Germany, increased its sales by 3.7 percent to EUR 1,090.6 million in the 2007 fiscal year from EUR 1,051 million in 2006. Growth in sales, adjusted for company divestitures, amounted to 15 percent. Röchling is now completely focused on the processing of engineering plastics.
This has resulted in a pleasing increase in profits. “We can look back on a successful fiscal year,” reports Georg Duffner, President and CEO of the Röchling Group. “The Röchling Group has once again strengthened its market position as international technology leader for plastics processing and set the course for further growth.” The driving force that propelled the worldwide expansion was the continued growth of its global manufacturing network. The Röchling Group widened its manufacturing network with companies in Cleveland in the USA, Orangeville in Canada, and Koprivnice in the Czech Republic as well as with its one hundred percent takeover of the former Chinese joint ventures at the locations Changchun and Suzhou.

Investments declined by 5.2 percent from EUR 72 million in 2006 to EUR 68 million in the 2007 fiscal year. The consistent economy measures policy in the Automotive Plastics division played a decisive role in this respect. The investment focus was on the strongly growing High-Performance Plastics division. Key investments included the expansion of the pressing plant at the Haren location. The commissioning of the largest sheet planer worldwide completed the project. Customers now benefit from greater flexibility and less waste during cutting thanks to the large size of the polyolefin sheets which measure 6,000 by 2,500 millimeters. The “Knowledge Center,” a development and training center for customers and employees of the High-Performance Plastics division, was established at the same location. A second training center opened its doors again in Lahnstein after undergoing complete renovation.

As of December 31, 2007, the number of Röchling Group employees had risen by 7.7 percent to a total of 5,983 employees from 5,553 employees on December 31, 2006. The employee figures of the sold companies Röchling Kaltwalzwerk (steel) and Depalor (wood processing) are no longer included in these results. The same applies to the employees of the joint venture CSAPT in China. However, employees were added in the High-Performance Plastics division from the companies newly acquired in January and February 2007, Glastic Corporation (Cleveland, USA) and Symplastics Limited (Orangeville, Canada). At Röchling Automotive, new hiring took place mainly in the Czech Republic and the USA.

High-Performance Plastics: High Growth Rate

In 2007, the High-Performance Plastics division increased its sales by 22.5 percent to EUR 490.7 million from EUR 400.6 million in 2006. The acquisitions of Glastic Corporation and Symplastics Limited considerably contributed to this growth. An increase in employment typifies the growth rate. The number of employees in the High-Performance Plastics division rose by 25 percent, or by 471 employees, to 2,354 from 1,883 employees in 2006. Here too, both acquisitions significantly contributed to the growth dynamics. Overall, the division invested EUR 32.9 million – amounting to 25.7 percent more in comparison to the previous year. In addition to the sheet planer, the two new molding presses for thermoplastics at the Haren location and the extrusion line in the Czech Republic are also worthy of mention. New presses are boosting production at Permali in France and Leripa in Austria as well.

Automotive Plastics: Innovations Reduce CO2 Emissions

The Automotive Plastics division delivered an impressive performance in 2007 with several technological innovations that were extremely well received in the market. Another new development is all about the reduction of fuel consumption and, consequently, carbon dioxide emission reduction and environmental protection. Actively controllable air flaps made of polyamide and polypropylene deliver a drag coefficient that is reduced by at least ten percent, resulting in a fuel consumption reduction of approximately one percent.
The new manufacturing method “JectBonding,” for example, combines blow molding, injection molding, and joining for the first time in one continuous manufacturing process. No welding is required. The results are simplification, time savings and error prevention.
Primarily innovations such as these have helped the Automotive Plastics division achieve an increase in sales of 4.9 percent to EUR 572.0 million in the 2007 fiscal year. At the close of the year, the division had 3,590 employees, 1.1 percent less than at the end of 2006. The deconsolidation of employees at Röchling Kaltwalzwerk and at CSAPT is offset by the new hiring in the USA and the Eastern European Röchling Automotive plant.
The RTP Group (Röchling Technical Parts), which is part of the Automotive Plastics division, shows a positive business development. Core competencies include the development and manufacture of high-quality injection-molded parts for a wide range of sophisticated applications, not only in automotive electrics but also in communication technology, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and medical technology. After the restructuring and upgrading of production at the locations Mainburg and Eppingen and the acquisition of SGT Spritzgusstechnik GmbH in Weidenberg, the RTP Group is expanding through organic growth and internationalization, as well as acquisitions. The goal is to further expand the company in the coming years by means of substantial acquisitions and also to gain expertise in complementary business areas.

Excellent Opportunities for Further Growth

According to Duffner, the Röchling Group is striving for a further increase in sales and earnings in the current fiscal year (2008). Driving forces are additional investments in the expansion of the worldwide manufacturing network. Röchling plans to start production in Russia, for example.
“We certainly feel the adverse effects of the unfavorable dollar exchange rate, strongly fluctuating commodity prices, rising material and energy costs, and the ever-increasing pressure from customers in the automotive industry. Nevertheless, we hold fast to our goal to further improve our position in the global plastics market in the year 2008 as well.”

Company Profile:
The Röchling Group, a worldwide operating plastics group with over 6,000 employees at 54 locations in 18 countries, stands for proficiency in plastics. Its two divisions, High-Performance Plastics and Automotive Plastics, concentrate on processing quality plastics into semi-finished products, components and systems for a wide range of industrial uses.
Röchling stands for innovative products and state-of-the-art process technology in plastics processing.
The High-Performance Plastics division’s product range extends from semi-finished products such as sheets, rods, hollow and flat steel bars via sectional and cast parts to mechanically finished assembly units.
The Automotive Plastics division makes plastic parts for the automotive industry. They consist of technologically sophisticated products made of polymer materials and natural fiber plastic composites for the engine compartment, the underbody and the interior.

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