SailStar, the Chinese drycleaning and laundry group, has strengthened its recent move into Europe by reaching agreement for a joint venture company with Böwe in Germany.
With effect from 1 July the joint company, Böwe Textile Cleaning GmbH (BTC) became responsible for the production and sales of the machines of Böwe Garment Care. The new company has also taken on Böwe’s factory and staff and continues to operate from the Augsburg headquarters.
It will be run jointly by Dr Reinhard Siede, MD of Böwe Garment Care and Eckhard Gerschewske, a former of MD Böwe Reinigungstechnik and also MD of SailStar Europe. Mr Gerscheweske will mainly be responsible for Böwe sales worldwide as well as for sales of SailStar products in Europe.
The joint venture is a direct result of the decision of Böwe’s parent company Wanderer-Werke to reorganise its drycleaning business.
In the statement announcing the joint venture, BTC said that its first priority would be to ensure continuity of production and development of the “made in Germany” branding.
There are plans to expand Böwe’s agencies and service centres and to re-form close relationships with customers.
BTC also aims to be a worldwide leader in technology, and will apply this goal both to the current solvents perc and hydrocarbon and to the alternative solvent solutions that are being developed. Additional solvents are currently being tested comprehensively. After receiving the statement, LCN talked to Eckhard Gerschewske. He confirmed that Böwe and SailStar would each hold a 50% stake in BTC.
He said that SailStar Europe would remain a separate company, although operating from the same Augsburg offices as the joint venture company.
Machines from both the SailStar brand and BTC would be produced in Augsburg. Some components may be sourced from other countries.
Mr Gerschewske also confirmed that SailStar and Böwe currently had separate UK agents. As reported in LCN July, Ducker has been appointed SailStar’s exclusive agent for the UK and Northern Ireland. Böwe’s representative is Böwe Ltd.