Belgian weaving machinery manufacturer Picanol NV yesterday launched its textile subsidiary Global Textile Partner (GTP), saying it will "revolutionise the textile industry worldwide".

According to Patrick Steverlynck, chairman of Picanol, textile companies keen to improve their competitiveness are relying on professional services and tailor-made solutions. GTP is the first independent company to address this demand on a global scale, he said.

The company aims to become the world's leading provider of specialised services to the textile manufacturing industry, and its scope is surprisingly wide. In its present start-up phase GTP will be primarily active in the 'weaving' segment, but in the long-term will extend its services to the whole textile industry (spinning, weaving, dyeing, finishing).

It also plans to work with other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the future. Koen Beckers, general manager of GTP, says: "Our employees won't make any distinction between Picanol and other OEMs when installing machines, or providing spare parts, second hand machinery, upgrades, training and consulting, asset management to the global textile industry."

The first step in GTP's roll-out came at the end of 2001 when Picanol acquired machinery accessory makers Steel Heddle (USA) and Verbrugge (Belgium). In April 2002, the logistics joint venture Fercomm (90 per cent GTP, 10 per cent Ferber) was established in Milan, Italy. And in May 2002, Picanol acquired Pegaso in Mexico, the leading local reed manufacturer.

Today GTP employs 545 people and has projected revenues of 80 million euros for its first year of operation. GTP will be able to service the world from its six hubs in Shanghai (China), Greenville (USA), Mexico City (Mexico), Istanbul (Turkey), Milan (Italy) and Roeselare (Belgium).

Koen Beckers stresses that GTP is presently unique in the world. "No other company can match GTP's ability of offering a 'one-stop-solution' to the textile industry worldwide, in total independence from OEMs," he declares.

By Jozef De Coster.