History

The SOEX success story began in 1977 in Erwitte, Germany, with the company’s founding by the businessman Sourein Ohanian. The company has since become an international group with a workforce of 1,200 employees in five countries.

1977

Founding of SOEX Textil- und Autohandels GmbH by the businessman Sourein Ohanian in Erwitte, North-Rhine Westphalia.
The company moves to Bad Oldesloe. After successful initial years of business the company moves to larger and strategically more favorable warehouses and offices in Bad Oldesloe.
The sons Nerses and Hagop Ohanian join the company. In the following ten years they support their father in expanding the trading in the markets of Europe, South America and Middle East.

1982

1993

The founder Sourein Ohanian hands over the management of the company to his sons. They continue to focus on textile business. Beginning with five employees the position of SOEX Germany is reinforced. In addition, SOEX develops further markets in Africa and Eastern Europe.
Acquisition of EFIBA in Bassum, Lower Saxony. As an initiator of Germany-wide clothing collection, EFIBA has decades of experience in collection and logistics of used textiles. SOEX is expanding its range by collection and can continue to grow.

1997

Laying of the foundations for SOEX-Sortierbetriebsgesellschaft mbH in Wolfen/Bitterfeld. Together with the RWE group which is expanding into the recycling market, SOEX constructs the largest textile sorting and recycling plant, propelling it to the position of worldwide number one. Production is relocated to the center of Germany, logistically at the heart of Europe. The company headquarters remain in Bad Oldesloe. Following a change in the group strategy of RWE, SOEX continues to operate the sorting plant by itself.
Start and development of the sorting plant. Beginning with 150 employees in Wolfen in 1998, the number increases to 360 in the following year. Sorting is conducted in two shifts.

1998

1999

Commissioning of the recycling plant. In order to save resources and to increase utilization rates, the high-performance recycling plant enters operation in Wolfen. Clothing that can no longer be worn is processed into insulation material. The plant runs continuously almost the whole year handling an annual volume of 11,000 tons.
SOEX is now marketing its products in approx. 90 countries worldwide.

2000

2002

Acquisition of Retextil. The purchase of Retextil, specialized in commercial collection, sees SOEX further expand its collecting activities and consequently its market leadership.
A third shift is introduced. SOEX is now sorting around the clock and increases the production volume to approx. 300 tons per day.

2004

2006

Commissioning of the sorting plant SOEX West USA, Los Angeles. With the experience gained in international markets the Ohanians continue their policy of expansion, setting up a similar textile sorting and recycling business in the USA.
Founding of I:Collect AG (I:CO). I:Collect represents a new approach to recycling, as I:CO collects textiles in the same place as it sells, offering to the end customers incentives in form of purchasing vouchers to recycle the products again at the end of their use. This minimizes the consumption of resources, protects the environment and enables sustainable consumption.

2009

2011

Significant further investments at Wolfen plant. SOEX gives a more economic design to workplaces, introduces new sorting procedures which results in a further production increase.
To improve the focus on different markets according to the market requirements, SOEX will reorganize the corporate group. The shares will be distributed again, and USA business will be outsourced. The headquarter is in Bad Oldesloe with more than 60 employees. Altogether the company is counting various locations and participations in seven countries with more than 1.000 employees. For more than 30 years the SOEX GROUP gives new life to used clothing. About 700 employees sort every day up to 400 tons of used clothing in the Wolfen plant.

2015

2016

For 25 years, the SOEX GROUP leased a 30,000 m2 facility in the Hamriyah Free Zone in the United Arab Emirates in order to establish an additional textile sorting plant. This planned facility was an important step towards achieving the company’s objective of sorting the growing quantity of collected goods – primarily from Asia – professionally and locally.
The SOEX GROUP was renamed SOEX and given a new, modern and cosmopolitan face. Its subsidiaries were also given a unified look. This renaming signifies that SOEX is a strong, globally operating company.

2018