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Rubber company sees opportunities in renewable energy

Contitech, one of Germany’s main makers of industrial drive belts and hoses, said Tuesday at the Hanover Fair in Germany it saw business opportunities in renewable energy.

Part of the Continental tyres and auto components group, which also has its base in Hanover, Contitech described a rubber bellows being tested at a Scottish power station which generates electricity using the energy of ocean waves. The component, which resists damage from oil and seawater, would be available in regular manufacture from 2012, said the company, which makes plastics and rubber components for industrial use. It said it aimed to double its sales over the next five years in China, where its joint-venture subsidiary Benecke Changshun Auto Trim makes interior plastic surfaces for cars. Contitech scored 58% of its turnover outside Germany last year. “We are pushing ahead with internationalization to remain profitable,” said CEO Gerhard Lerch at the April 21-25 fair, the world’s premier annual expo of industrial equipment and automation gear.

Contitech, with €3 billion ($4.75 billion) in annual sales, is seeking sales outside the automotive industry because carmakers have been aggressively forcing down prices and profits at their suppliers. (m&