SANGERHAUSEN, Germany – Just weeks after private investor Carsten Maschmeyer acquired a majority shareholding in the Mitteldeutsche Fahrradwerke AG – better known as Mifa - the German mass-market bike producer announces the take-over of Grace GmbH & Co. KG. The two companies do not want to disclose details of the transaction, but Mifa did not take-over all Grace shares, but acquired a majority stake in the high-end e-bike maker.
Next to its own e-bike production the Berlin-based company, which is under the management of Michael Hecken und Karlheinz Nicolai, is also responsible for the electric bike car maker Smart launched at Eurobike last September. With that the Grace acquisition is for Mifa also a step into e-mobility. The Smart e-bike is planned to reach the market about now. Last September the car maker said its e-bike will be available for the public in the 1st half of 2012 at a retail price of under € 2,900. Distribution will take place exclusively through Smart car dealers.
“For us the combination of price leadership, automotive technology and innovative capacity means solid future growth – especially with an eye on the young ‘generation Apple’ target group”, notes Mifa CEO Peter Wicht, “Now we can also offer high-quality, stylish and exclusive e-bikes to the market.”
E-Bikes are already the number one growth driver of Germany’s unit-wise largest bicycle producer. “High unit sales to several large customers made Mifa already into a strong player within the e-mobility market”, is noted in a Mifa press release.
R&D office in Berlin
“With the Grace acquisition we get access to R&D know-how that fits best to our existing competences such as most efficient production for a large unit production”, states Wicht. Mifa will keep the Grace R&D office in Berlin, but will work on synergies with an eye on production. “Future E-mobility will also count on efficiency and standardization. That’s where we want to play a significant role.“
The two Grace managers Hecken and Nicolai are also happy to have Mifa on board. R&D chief Kalle Nicolai is well known in the industry and produces also high-end mountainbikes. Grace founder Michael Hecken – responsible for marketing, sales and strategy – founded his first own company in London when he was 22 years old. For years he is seen as one of the forerunners of the German internet scene.