The merger between IPSO-ILG and Jensen creates a company with claim to the broadest product range in the laundry industry as well as to being the Number 3 player in the global market.

The new company, Laundry Systems Group (LSG ) has an estimated combined turnover of 7bn BEF (£111.35million).

Eddy Coppieters, formerly chief executive officer of IPSO and now president of LSG, told LCN that it was IPSO that had initiated the merger and it had done so in order to achieve its desired growth in the heavy-duty laundry market. Over a year ago, it had looked at the market structure and realised that commercial and heavy-duty sectors were separate worlds.

Commercial strength IPSO’s main strength lay in the commercial market and here it had enough internal strength to grow as wished. It had acquired Cissel in 1996 and the recent investment of US$8million (£5million) in a production plant in Panama city would increase its US market share to 15% in three years. However, its heavy-duty range from Amko and D’Hooge was not broad enough for real growth in this market.

Ipso will have a 51.5% stake in LSG with Jensen taking 48.5%. Mr Coppieters and Jesper Munch Jensen will be executive directors of the nine-member board and Jørn Munch Jensen, (son of Jensen’s founder) will be chairman. In addition to being president, Mr Coppieters will also be chief executive officer responsible for the commercial laundry division.

Mr Jesper Munch Jensen will be chief executive officer representing the heavy-duty sector.

Commenting on the new partnership he said that it had been a merger of two equal companies, although IPSO was a public company while the Jensen group had been family owned.

Separate sales and distribution organisations will cover commercial and heavy-duty sectors, but both will benefit from synergies in the fields of commerce, production and R&D engineering and there would be particular synergies in the OPL sector added Mr Jensen.

Mr Coppieters said that there would be no change in the distribution for the commercial sector.

The heavy-duty division would build on the best from Amko, D’Hooge and Jensen and would be looking to go through single distributor channels, said Mr Jensen.