NEW DEHLI, India – Hero, India’s biggest bike maker, brings itself at the centre stage of the global electric bike business. On December 28 the Ludhiana based company announced the take-over of the electric two wheeler assets, brands and team of the London, UK headquartered Ultra Motor Ltd.
“This acquisition provides us excess to Ultra Motor’s existing range, distribution network, designs and presence in hi-end markets,” said Naveen Munjal, Managing Director of Heroeco Vehicles Pvt Ltd.; Hero’s subsidiary that currently (among other activities) manufacturers and markets e-scooters.
The young scion of Munjal family that owns Hero and all its subsidiairies further said, “This take-over brings us fast moving electric bike brands like A2B & F4W (fast forward),” Munjal said. However, he declined to comment on the size of the deal. “We are bound by legalities for not disclosing the amount,” he stated. Earlier, both the companies jointly entered the Indian electric bike market but parted ways. Ultra Motors has also tried to enter the Indian market independently but without much success, it closed its plant couple of years back.
Heroeco, the newly formed umbrella entity includes - Hero Electric, Hero Exports, Mediva (Medical Equipment), Winn and Hero Ecotech. The group is also planning to invest about USD 90 million in various verticals in the next five years. The company has about USD 100 million turnover annually and targets to tripple its turnover in the next five years.
Through importers Ultra Motor has distribution networks in 22 countries. The take-over presents Hero the much needed excess to these markets. “Ultra Motor has distribution networks in markets like Canada, Switzerland, Benelux, Spain, Russia & Japan. While it has considerable market share in Benelux, Germany, US & Canada,” Naveen said.
On November 7 Ultra Motor Ltd. filed for Administration in the UK which is comparable to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. The company announced that it had sold its subsidiary Ultra Motor Taiwan, which develops and manufacturs electric motors and propulsion systems, to a group of European private equity investors.
After selling its Taiwan subsidiary Ultra Motor Ltd. still owned two distributing companies located in the Germany and the United States. Next to that there are subsidiaries controlling the Ultra's E2W business, including the A2B range. “We took over the team, stock, IT, tooling and brand,” Naveen Munjal said.
Currently, Heroeco has presence in e-scooters only but with the deal it will widen its product range with e-bikes. “We will now have a wider product range from pedelecs, folding bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters,” Naveen Munjal furthered.
At the December 28 press conference chairman, Vijay Munjal of Heroeco Vehicles Pvt Ltd. announced next to the Ultra Motor take-over also the company’s entry in the medical equipment sector under the Mediva brandname as well as a new bicycle range under the Winn brandname. “Winn will be a hi-end bicycle range to be launched globally after entering the Indian market. We find the gaps in our international range of bicycles and Winn fills the gap,” Vijay Munjal said. The company’s Mangli plant in Ludhiana manufactures 900,000 bicycles annually for the international market and 65,000 e-scooters.