MILAN, Italy (August 17) - Italian motor/scooter maker Piaggio agreed Friday to acquire cash-strapped motorcycle producer Aprilia SpA, the companies said. The deal, which must still be approved by the antitrust authorities and creditor agreements, should be set up in a final contract September 30 and closed in November. The acquisition calls for Piaggio - Europe's biggest manufacturer of Powered Two-Wheelers - to inject € 50 million into Aprilia and to take on € 110 million of its debt.
Aprilia, Europe's second-largest maker of scooters and motorcycles, was forced to seek a buyer because of it's debt burden. In 2003, Aprilia had € 220 million in debt. Aprilia posted sales of € 533 million in 2003 and a net loss of € 43 million. What contributed to the financial troubles were the recent take-overs of Moto Guzzi and Laverda. The re-launching of the two brands asked for large investments.
Piaggio said it would retain Aprilia's industrial operations and staffing levels and integrate its technological expertise with Piaggio's. Piaggio, is on track to return to profit in 2005 or possibly late 2004. (MH)