Deuter parent buys Ortovox

The parent company of Deuter has acquired fellow German outdoor brand Ortovox. SNEWS has the scoop on what it means for the companies’ U.S. operations.
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Breaking news from the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, Germany: The parent company of Deuter has acquired fellow German outdoor brand Ortovox and its U.S., Canadian and Austrian subsidiaries for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition occurred July 1, 2011, but was officially announced July 13, the day before the OutDoor show.

Schwan-Stabilo, a half-billion dollar, privately held, diversified firm based in Heroldsberg, Germany, near Nuremberg, will add Ortovox (www.ortovox.com) to its outdoor group along with Deuter, which it acquired in 2006. Schwan-Stabilo is best known for its pen, pencil and writing products, and has a cosmetics group.

Schwan-Stabilo purchased Ortovox, which makes packs, apparel and wintersports gear, from owner and general manager Gerald Kampel, who founded the roots of the company in 1976. Click here to see the company’s history. Kampel steps aside, and Ortovox brand manager Christian Schneidermeier is being promoted to manage the company. According to German press reports, Kampel, who is nearing 70, wanted to retire and didn't have anybody lined up to take over for him.

Officials said Ortovox will remain headquartered Taufkirchen, Germany, where it employs 19 people. The company remains autonomous from Deuter, as will its U.S., Canadian and Austrian operations.

Ortovox USA CEO Marcus Peterson told SNEWS no management changes are expected in the United States. He will remain in New Hampshire, and Ortovox chief operating officer, Dale Bard, along with company’s distribution center, will remain in Salt Lake City.

“It’s been a seamless transition two months in the making,” Peterson said. “Obviously with the strength of a half-billion dollar company, we’ll have the ability to update our technologies and grow.”

Part of that expansion is already in motion, as the company best known for its wintersports gear and apparel is expanding into summer gear and apparel.

“We want Ortovox to be a year-round company,” Peterson said. “We have a story to tell with our summer products.”

At the OutDoor show in Germany July 14-16, 2011, and at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (Aug 4-7) in Salt Lake City, the company will debut, among other summer products, a new line of mountain biking- and running-specific packs.

The sale of Ortovox is the second European brand to exchange hands this week. On July 11, U.K.-based Equip Outdoor Technologies, parent of Rab, annouced the purchase of the Lowe Alpine brand out of bankruptcy in Italy.

-- David Clucas with additional reporting by Therese Iknoian

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