Effective July 1, Schwanhäusser Industrie Holding, known for its writing materials of the Schwan-Stabilo brand, has created a new company in charge of its outdoor operations called Schwan-Stabilo Outdoor. The new firm acts as a holding company controlling two subsidiaries, as of now, Deuter and Ortovox. Managing directors are Bernd Kullmann, who continues to be chief of Deuter, and Martin Riebel. Christian Schneidermeier remains managing director of Ortovox.

Riebel, 49, has spent the last couple of years in the management of W.L. Gore & Associates working with Gore-Tex. Previously, he worked for Adidas and, later on, he directed the business of Helly Hansen in the German-speaking countries.

Kullmann told this publication that he was happy to have a new partner who has profound knowledge of apparel, a know-how that the backpack man does not really have. The chief of Deuter says that Ortovox, known for its avalanche rescue solutions, backpacks and accessories, has large potential with its range of clothing, a segment where Ortovox has been around for a long time, but perhaps with some understatement.

In the Western Hemisphere it is possibly little-known that Deuter is very active in apparel in South Korea and Taiwan through its regional partner, Duke, whose sales of textiles exceed those of backpacks and sleeping bags in those two countries.

Kullmann is confident that Riebel, who will operate from Deuter's headquarters, will discharge him from some responsibilities, notably by taking over leadership – step by step – in some regions such as North America and Asia. Their joint task will also be to look into possible new acquisitions in the outdoor sector. When Schwan-Stabilo took over Deuter a few years ago, its chief executive, Sebastian Schwanhäusser, was determined to buy more companies in that growing industry.

Meanwhile, Ortovox and Deuter are busy merging their worldwide operations. Ortovox USA is being shut down, since it was not profitable anyway. The distribution of Ortovox will be handled through Deuter's own subsidiary in the U.S. Simultaneously, the distributors of Deuter in Switzerland, Poland and Belgium have been taking on Ortovox in their respective countries.

In Poland, the distribution has been merged under the helm of Deuter's distributor, Bakosport, which is also in charge of Tubbs, La Sportiva and others. For Belgium and the Netherlands, the distribution of Ortovox has been put into the hands of Deuter's Belgian partner, Metropolis. This company will also handle the Dutch market, since the local distributor of Deuter in the Netherlands, TCK Sports Group, is already busy with a huge load of brands including Arena, Schöffel, Leki, X-Technology, Ortlieb, Marker, Völkl, Vibram FiveFingers and Tecnica-related brands such as Lowa, Moon Boot and Tecnica itself.