MUNICH, Germany — Multinational industrial-gas giant Linde AG announced a 50 million euro ($66.7 million) rollout of Fred Butler brand drycleaning plants and stores throughout Europe. Fred Butler uses a liquid carbon dioxide process exclusively to clean clothing, making this the biggest commitment to the alternative process in industry history.
“Fred Butler is a prime example of the many applications for industrial gases,” says Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde AG. “We are committed to developing this business model, investing around 50 million euros in outlets and cleaning facilities by 2011. Through Fred Butler, we will make a sustainable contribution to protecting the earth’s climate — and to creating new jobs.”
Linde plans to bring the Fred Butler brand to 200 metropolitan areas in the European Union in the next five years with franchised and company-owned plants and stores. Following successful trials in Frankfurt, Germany, Fred Butler opened two drop stores and a central plant serving Munich; plans are to open nine more plants this year and up to 50 more every year through 2011.
Andreas Klensch, CEO of Linde subsidiary and Fred Butler parent Cleaning Enterprises GmbH, was awarded Germany’s “Blue Angel” environmental certification at a press event announcing the push. Fred Butler’s process uses recycled carbon dioxide and can prolong clothing life up 40% while permitting operators to clean a greater variety of clothing, the company says; stores will also offer value-added services such as office pickup and delivery.
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