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Accell Group Sells Hercules to ZEG

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HEERENVEEN, The Netherlands – Accell Group NV has sold it traditional German bike brand Hercules for about 20 million euro to Europe’s biggest dealer cooperative, the German Zweirad-Einkaufs- Genossenschaft eG (ZEG). The sale of Hercules will result in a book profit of around 3 million euro for Accell Group.

Accell Group Sells Hercules to ZEG
Next to a selling price of 20 million euro Accell’s divestment of Hercules, “Enables us to increase the focus of our German brand portfolio, consisting of Winora, Ghost and Haibike,” says the company. – Photo Bike Europe

In a press release issued last Friday, January 31, Accell Group states, “The divestment of Hercules improves the distinctive market positioning of the Accell Group brand portfolio in Germany and optimizes Accell Group’s available resources for investing in its other German brands.” Those brands are Winora, Haibike and Ghost.

Repositioning

In 2013, Hercules booked turnover of around € 31 million and a limited positive operating result. Hercules was founded in 1886 and Accell Group acquired the traditional bicycle brand in 1995. After several years of organizational adjustments, a move to Schweinfurt and a repositioning of the brand, Hercules returned to turnover growth in recent years, partly on the back of a strong rise in e-bike sales in Germany.

ZEG: most important sales channel

While other Accell Group brands in Germany were recording healthy growth over the last decade, the market positioning of the separate brands gradually became less distinctive. At the same time, Hercules was booking insufficient growth through the ZEG dealer distribution channel, its most important sales channel. ZEG has long been closely tied to the Hercules brand as a major customer.

Agreement

After a strategic re-evaluation in 2013, Accell Group decided to explore a potential divestment of Hercules and began negotiations with ZEG that carried on over the course of that year. The agreement now reached between Accell Group and ZEG will involve the transfer of the Hercules brand, corporate premises in Neuhof and the entire working capital of the Hercules business to ZEG. The divestment of Hercules will result in a book profit of around € 3 million for Accell Group, on a consideration of around € 20 million. The divestment is subject to approval from the German competition authorities, which is expected at the end of February.

Increase focus

René Takens, CEO of Accell Group, “The sale of the Hercules brand enables us to increase the focus of our German brand portfolio, consisting of Winora, Ghost and Haibike and to further invest in the distinctiveness of our German brand propositions. The sale of one of our traditional brands, which we have had in our brand portfolio for almost 20 years, was not an easy decision, but I believe that now, more than ever, it is crucial that we make strategic choices and ensure we have a healthy organization fit for the future. We consider Germany as an important market for high-end cycling offering ample growth potential for our group as a whole. It is also a highly competitive market which therefore requires a strong focus on market positioning – or brand and distribution – as well as continued investments in differentiating potential and innovation. Today’s announcement will contribute to that.”

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