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Polish Bike Maker Apollo For Sale

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CZECHOWICE, Poland (22 January) – Apollo, the second largest Polish bicycle manufacturer after Romet, has gone up for sale. The state owned bike maker employing 250 people, can be purchased for PLZ 500,000 (US$122,092;EUR129,716) plus assuming the debts accumulated by company amounting to a further PLZ 6,000,000 (US$1.5mn;EUR1.6mn). Fabryka Rowerow Apollo Sp. z.o.o. (Bicycle Factory […]

CZECHOWICE, Poland (22 January) – Apollo, the second largest Polish bicycle manufacturer after Romet, has gone up for sale. The state owned bike maker employing 250 people, can be purchased for PLZ 500,000 (US$122,092;EUR129,716) plus assuming the debts accumulated by company amounting to a further PLZ 6,000,000 (US$1.5mn;EUR1.6mn).
Fabryka Rowerow Apollo Sp. z.o.o. (Bicycle Factory Apollo Ltd.) was founded in 1920 and by 1990 had become a medium-sized plant cooperating with Romet and other enterprises, including car maker FSM which Apollo supplied with seats and seat springs for the small Fiat 126. The bicycles manufactured in Apollo were not, however, distinctively different from Romet’s. The majority of its production was children’s and folding bikes. In fact Apollo supplied Romet with spokes, nipples, mudguards, and similar parts. Problems began for the Polish bike maker when it found that its products were no longer able to compete with the flashier mountain bikes then entering the Polish market. In 1994, in an effort to save the situation, Apollo started assembly of an aluminum mountainbike called ‘Pacyfic’. This design was based on the alloy frame manufactured at the Mielec Aircraft Factory. Apollo also tried launching a line of bikes for elderly and handicapped people. Sales were disappointing however, and in 1995 the factory was turned into a state owned enterprise. It became part of FSM WWR. This step marked the beginning of slow decline in status for Apollo, forming only roughly 20% of the FSM WWR (Small Car and Product Manufacturer). According to Stanislaw Wojciech, president of the board of directors and general manager of Apollo, “The biggest problem lays in long lines of communication with the head office and our owner the Polish state. It makes it difficult to compete with smaller and more flexible private enterprises.” Recently Apollo was put up for sale. At its peak Apollo produced over 100,000 bikes a year, but that has dropped to around 25,000 in 2000. (MU)

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