PARIS — Group Steilmann, the big German ready-to-wear company, has signed a new licensing agreement to make and distribute Daniel Hechter’s signature women’s ready-to-wear line in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Scandinavian countries.

“While it’s very difficult to predict sales in this environment, sales for the first full year should be between $4.6 million and $5.7 million [8 to 10 million marks at current exchange rates],” said company chairman Klaus Steilmann.

“But soon those sales will double,” said Daniel Hechter, noting that his men’s wear line is strong in Germany, with annual sales of over $57.4 million (100 million marks).

The deal, signed last October but revealed only late last week, ends a four-year agreement with Modaberri, Hechter’s former German licensee.

Hechter said he ended that accord because the women’s wear “was just not performing,” but delayed the announcement of the Steilmann deal to avoid causing financial harm to Modaberri.

Hechter, who has known Klaus Steilmann for 20 years, said he chose the firm because “it’s a serious company in terms of its quality of manufacture and strong distribution network.”

The first Hechter collection made by Steilmann will be shown at the Collections Premieres Dusseldorf next month.