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Dutch Union Restarts

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NIEUWLEUSEN, Netherlands (January 16) – Dutch Union bicycles is restarting its production this week. 2002 production is targeted at 65.000 units. The restart after the bankruptcy offers some interesting views. Buyer of the Union assets is Larcom, a private enterprise for social security employment. 75 (out of 1,300) Larcom employees had already been working in […]

NIEUWLEUSEN, Netherlands (January 16) – Dutch Union bicycles is restarting its production this week. 2002 production is targeted at 65.000 units. The restart after the bankruptcy offers some interesting views.
Buyer of the Union assets is Larcom, a private enterprise for social security employment. 75 (out of 1,300) Larcom employees had already been working in the assembly of bicycles marketed by Union. Larcom is planning to set up a completely new plant within 10 miles of the present Union premises to ensure employment for the present crew (75 Larcom plus 40 ex-Union) and maybe more. The confidence for the setting up of a new plant derived, among others, from the fact that 90% of the 400 Dutch Union dealers were willing to re-place their seasonal orders from last fall. (These orders had been cancelled by the receiver).
According to Larcom’s Union interim manager Harry Wierbos, this remarkable brand loyalty of the dealers has surprised Larcom. Many dealers in the Netherlands have three or four brands which constitute the basis of their business, and they could easily have switched (some actually did so and put in their winter orders for other brands), but apparently most had hoped for the revival of their trusted Union brand. In the meantime, Larcom is working frantically to resume production. Main strategy is to invest (even more) in strong dealer relationships in Holland and Belgium. Total re-organization will take one season, Wierbos expects, and during this period a new Union management will be sought to take over the overall responsibility. (OB)

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