Textile specialist Schoeller Textil AG is taking over Eschler Textil GmbH in a move that will see the two companies merge their operations in a bid to expand their products and global presence.

Schoeller Textil specialises in stretch woven fabrics and smart textile technologies for activewear, workwear and lifestyle apparel; while Christian Eschler makes knitted fabrics for sports, workwear, technical textiles and lingerie.

The two companies, who have worked together on production for many years, will operate under the management of Schoeller Textil, with Eschler continuing as a separate brand. Managing director Matthias Eschler will remain in charge of the plant in Germany and will further expand the Technical Textiles segment.

"This cooperation of two strong partners at this particular point in time is a far-sighted business move which will secure the future and which represents a logical consequence in terms of market positioning," said Hansjörg Rettenmund, president of the Eschler group.

The merger comes after Eschler Group in November revealed plans to close two sites at Bühler and Münchwilen in Switzerland, relocate production to subsidiaries in Germany and Thailand, and "massively reduce" its product range.

It blamed low-cost competition from the Far East and the strength of the Swiss franc, which had led to "enormous pressure on prices and crumbling margins".

However, a newly created technology and innovation centre for special textiles will now be implemented in Schoeller's research and development department in Sevelen and in the Schoeller laboratory for chemical analysis and microbiological studies in Gams.

"We are convinced that there will always be a global market for premium Swiss textile products," explains Siegfried Winkelbeiner, CEO of Schoeller Textil. "With the combined innovative power of these two companies, entirely new perspectives are opening up for the cooperation with our joint customers."