Aline Steiner: Mr. Markert, congratulations on your successful acquisition. Why did you decide to buy in the USA?
Philipp Markert: Markert has been in the textile filtration business for 4 generations. We are the market leader for filter cloths in Europe. After completion of the expansions of our two European sites in Italy and Germany next year, we have extra capacity to serve our customers in EMEA. With the highest quality and a range of new optimized products, our growth strategy in this region has been completely successful. We will increase sales by almost 20% this year. In terms of earnings, it is also the most successful fiscal year in the company's history.
The next interesting market for us is North America, which we occasionally supply from Germany, but for real market penetration, a local manufacturing site is essential. Added to this is my personal experience in the USA. I was not only inspired by high school as a teenager, but also by the glimpse into the American working world during my studies there.
Aline Steiner: That's impressive. And why Cross Filtration?
Philipp Markert: Cross Filtration was founded about 10 years ago by Joanne and Peter Cross. The company draws on a much longer tradition as the legacy of the Crosible company has continued. Joanne Cross decided to retire from the business. The corporate cultures of Cross and Markert are very similar: both are owner-managed, family-owned companies that care more about sustainability, long-term strategies and a satisfied workforce than quarterly figures - which, by the way, are extraordinary in both companies for precisely that reason. Therefore, I expect a successful integration into our Group.
Aline Steiner: What are your plans for Cross Filtration?
Philipp Markert: The U.S. market is undergoing considerable upheaval. We see this as an opportunity. Cross Filtration will be renamed Markert USA to reflect the fact that it belongs to the Group. We will retain the Cross Filtration brand. Markert USA will be responsible for the markets in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Our innovative products, such as filter belts for tower presses and our filter cloths for mining applications (filter presses and disc filters) will also have a production line at Markert USA. We expect solid growth.
Aline Steiner: What are your long-term goals for the Group?
Philipp Markert: We want to continue to grow profitably and more strongly than the market. This will mainly be done organically. Inorganic growth is not part of our core strategy. However, should a suitable acquisition opportunity arise, we are open to it.
Aline Steiner: Congratulations to you and the entire Group on the most successful business year in the company's history. I wish you a first-class start for the expansion of the Group through the acquisition of Cross Filtration. Thank you for the interview.