JK Products & Services GmbH, better known as ‘Ergoline,’ began in Eitorf, Germany, in 1927 as a small carpentry company belonging to namesake Josef Kratz, father of current owner Walter Kratz. Still located near its birthplace in the Rhine River Valley in the picturesque town of Windhagen, it has since become the world’s leading sunbed manufacturer, and the JK family of brands and products has grown extensively.
As a brand, Ergoline recently celebrated its prestigious 30-year anniversary and it marks many important milestones. During the past three decades, Ergoline equipment has become synonymous with timeless design, top service and easy maintenance. As an innovation leader, JK has successfully extended its market leadership through uncompromising “Made in Germany” quality, excellent performance standards, and streamlined operations. Furthermore, JK-Group has become an international specialist in the application of light in the lifestyle, beauty and healthcare markets. With 335 employees, the corporate group generated sales of 100 million Euros in 2016.
JK currently develops and distributes devices globally under the brand names Ergoline, BeautyAngel, SunAngel, Wellsystem and Virobuster. The fields of application range from cosmetic tanning to natural collagen production, treatment of vitamin deficiencies and skin disorders, to relief of orthopedic conditions with UV, near-infrared devices and massage systems, as well as air hygiene systems. With distinct competencies in research, innovation and design, the JK-Group is poised for development, as the domestic and international markets experience sustained growth and the need for innovative applications of new and existing technologies.
The founding family, led by Walter Kratz, has found a new, capitally strong owner who can support JK-Group in its continued growth and guarantees reliable cooperation with our business partners. “We are pleased to have found an ideal shareholder in VTC Industriebeteiligungen GmbH & Co. KG (VTC),” Kratz shares.
“JK is an excellent complement to VTC,“ Stefan Leuze, Managing Director of VTC, is delighted to say. “As a global leader with strong brands and experienced management, JK is excellently positioned in its core businesses. VTC will invest in strengthening the core business further and also expects growth impulses from the fast-growing fitness and beauty markets.” The acquisition was officially announced in Windhagen, Germany at the international headquarters of JK-Group on May 11, 2017 and is completed after clearance from regulatory authorities.
For the Kratz family as well as for JK Management, the sustainable and value-based corporate strategy of VTC was the decisive factor in their choice to ensure the reliable, loyal and long-term cooperation with employees and partners. Walter Kratz particularly wants to thank all employees, customers and partners for their cooperation over all these years. “Together, we were able to create and develop our industry even when times were difficult,” Kratz states. He has overseen the growth of the JK-Group of companies for 30 years and has exercised careful stewardship at every level of involvement. He looks forward to observing the rising trajectory of JK now more than ever, with a fresh injection of energy from the new owners, VTC Group. He also looks forward to a well-deserved retirement.
Over the last year, JK has reinforced their already uncompromising commitment to the North American market through a fresh investment in new offices at the corporate headquarters in Jonesboro, Arkansas. With a new and inviting service training facility, display equipment, office space and logistical management, the organization is excited about the new space and energy. As the undisputed market leader in the U.S. and abroad, JK continues to serve the industry and its distribution network with unwavering commitment. North American CEO, Hans-Jürgen Kreitz, had this to say about the acquisition: “I am looking forward to the new era. It allows us a high pace of innovation as a market leader to further strengthen our core business and to develop new business fields.”
As a valued customer of JK-North America, you will find that nothing will change. We will always be here for you with the same contact persons and the same attention to detail in our products and service. We have experienced growth in the North American service network over the last year, and continue to set the standard of quality across the industry. Our products are relied upon in the most demanding environments and with the most discerning customers alike, and in both cases are equipped with a support network to ensure your success. The entire JK Team looks forward to the future and will always continue to place the highest value on the customers we serve.
VTC Industriebeteiligungen GmbH & Co. KG is a dynamically growing investment enterprise based in Munich. VTC invests exclusively with its own funds and in addition to the acquisition of new investments, aims to support the further development of its group of companies. With 5,300 employees, VTC currently generates an annual turnover of 750 million Euro. www.vtc.de
Brynn Scarborough is the Director of Business Development & Marketing for JK North America, representing industry-leading brands including Ergoline, Sun Angel, Beauty Angel and SolTron. With the company since 2012, Brynn brings extensive knowledge of sales management, customer relations and public speaking, and continues to serve JK in key project and brand development. Pursuing an Executive MBA from the Sykes School of Business at the University of Tampa, Brynn invests heavily in pursuing industry-leading innovation and technology with Ergoline.
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