Victorinox SA has purchased fellow Swiss knife maker Wenger SA. The new acquisition will be integrated into the Victorinox Group but will operate as an independent entity at its existing facility in DelÃ©mont in the Canton of Jura.
Victorinox said the merger enables it to strengthen its position in the face of international competition and provides Wenger with the financial backing it needs to continue its activities and restructure its operation.
"Keeping the Swiss cross in Swiss hands is the best way to move forward our renowned label with a reputation for superior quality in the world and also to confront the growing competition in the international marketplace," said Victorinox director Carl Elsener Jr., who has joined Wenger's board of directors.
Wenger's Jean-Jacques Gunzinger said this is the best possible solution for Wenger, noting various challenges the company needs to overcome. They include: regaining market share by repositioning specific products in the marketplace and the development of products based on the image of the Swiss Army Knife; economies of scale and the exploitation of synergies in manufacturing, information technology and promotion; stabilization of the operational direction of the company in the Canton of Jura; and a return to profitability in 2006.
The new Wenger board of directors includes Jean-Bernard Vauclair (chairman), Gunzinger and Elsener. The new team is looking for a commercial director. Between them, the two companies manufacture 25.7 million knives and export them to about150 countries.