CHEPY, France (27 March 2000)--Less than a year after being set up, the French parts manufacturer Ircos is in financial troubles. The company recently filed 'technical' bankruptcy. The measure was taken in order to urge local authorities to come through with the subsidies originally promised. "We're not dead," says Ircos managing director Patrick Büschell. "This is the only solution to make the company a more profitable one." Ircos made headlines in the bike industry last year with both the takeover of Stronglight and the management buy-out of SRAM France.
Ircos's troubles can be traced to three sources: local authorities, SRAM and Decathlon. Apparently, the French government granted the company considerably less subsidies than originally expected. Likewise, orders from SRAM were less than forecast, while a lucrative project with Decathlon was postponed.
"This news comes as a complete surprise to us," says SRAM Europe managing director Martin van Beek. "Our relationship with Ircos has been a good one up to now, and in the coming weeks we will do what we can to continue doing business along the same lines. We are of course happy that Ircos has decided to continue producing. Our top priority is to ensure that our clients receive their products, which they will." Büschell emphasizes that the company is still able to supply its products without any trouble. Moreover, Stronglight will be present at the Taipei International Cycle Show at the beginning of April to introduce its newest line of products.
In 1998 Ircos and Stronglight produced over 3.5 million hubs, 835,000 front and rear derailleurs, 3.5 million shifters, 210,000 freewheels, 400,000 cranksets, 300,000 bottom brackets and 200,000 headsets. (JW)