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ELAN BIKES – End of Story?

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Ljubljana, Slovenia (Feb 18) – It seems that we finally have come to the end of the agony at Elan Bikes. Unfortunately, it’s not a happy end. The latest news from the Elan group is: ”We will no longer have an Elan Bikes brand, the company will be renamed to its original name Rog Bikes.” […]

Ljubljana, Slovenia (Feb 18) – It seems that we finally have come to the end of the agony at Elan Bikes. Unfortunately, it’s not a happy end. The latest news from the Elan group is: ”We will no longer have an Elan Bikes brand, the company will be renamed to its original name Rog Bikes.”
What that means exactly, officials at Elan didn’t want to say, but this could be the end of a factory with 75 years of history and tradition. A short recap of this history – Rog bikes were established in Yugoslavia and manufactured most of the country’s bikes. When Slovenia was liberated in 1991, Rog was already in financial problems. Finally it was bought by the Elan group in 2002.
A new company, Elan Bikes was established and they entered the hi-end freeride market. To strengthen the company, all their distribution activities(Specialized, Univega, Focus, Marzocchi …) were concentrated in the new Elan Bikes company. So Slovenia suddenly got the by far biggest distributor and manufactureer with an annual turnover of around 75.000 units.
Management invested a lot in new tecnologies, R&D and promotion and most of Europe now knows about Elan bikes. But the problems began early in 2004 when the property and factory were sold to Raiffeisen Leasing. The money was used to pay debts from the Rog era and to pay back a loan from the Elan Group. Only 5 % of the money was left for investments, but at least they could start wit a clean slate. Soon after that Skimar got new managament (Skimar is the holding company of Elan Group) that didn’t saw a future in bikes, so Tomi Sefman, CEO of Elan Bikes, resigned.
New CEO Aleksander Mokrovic had been in his new position only for a few days when he was already in such conflicts with some leading people that they simply left or got sacked. In one week all the managament and sales department was changed. More and more people lost their jobs (from over 200 in end of summer 2004 to less than 90), a lot of abolutely necessary factory tools and machinery were sold off.
At the same time Elan also lost all distributions, which presented around €1.000.000 of income every year. Further the employees started a strike on February 2nd. Mokrovic had to resign but the CEO of Skimar, Tevz Tavcar, still doesn’t want to give clear indication what will happen with the factory. The bank will sell the land – that is for sure. A new location is still unknown, as is the faith of the 90 employees. Most likely this will mean the end of Elan and Rog bikes. After 2 years of hard work it only took a few months to bring this giant to its knees. The effect of all this on the Slovenian market could be devastating. Elan still have around 15.000 bikes on stock from the last five years, and dumping them in the market could create a chaos for at least a couple of years. (GS)

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