Displaying the drycleaning machines at last month’s Clean UK exhibition, Chris Ducker told LCN the reasons behind the move. The laundry business, he explained, was now well established and well down the route of recovering from its earlier mistakes.

He said that feedback from customers had suggested that the company’s presence would be welcome in the drycleaning market where there was considerable instability. Ducker had therefore decided to move in, but to do so by setting up a separate division as it was essential the move should not detract from other business.

The company had been approached by SailStar as part of its planned expansion. Although the brand was not known in the UK, Mr Ducker said he had been impressed with the company, its product, design philosophy, production methods and quality. He had noted SailStar’s planned programme of expansion, first building up the home market, then moving into Japan and the Far East, then setting up a USA division and now its own European company.

SailStar Europe is based in Augsberg, Germany and the MD is Eckherd Gerschewske, whose career includes 22 years with Böwe Germany, eight of them as MD, although he left the company in 1990.

In addition to producing its own machines, SailStar also has a 50% stake in Italian drycleaning machine manufacturer Lindus, and Ducker will have access to machines from both sources.

Ducker stresses its commitment to the project. It has already appointed Ray Barnard (who headed up the former Böwe Garment Care UK) and Jane Green (a former regional sales manager with the same company) business development managers, and will be bringing in other experts from the drycleaning market, mainly sales. It will also make sure that customers get full service support and is looking for high quality drycleaning engineers to make up its own inhouse team.