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Simplon Taken Over by Private Equity Company

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HARD, Austria – Last week private equity firm Hannover Finanz GmbH acquired a majority stake in Austrian bicycle producer Simplon Fahrrad GmbH. The new owner focuses on international growth.

Simplon Taken Over by Private Equity Company
Left and right the current managing partners and GM’s Andreas and Christian Hämmerle. Pictured here is also Heinz Hämmerle who retired in 2008. The Simplon management refused to comment on the take-over. – Photo Jo Beckendorff

Simplon is Austria’s number two bike maker after KTM Fahrrad. With the take-over Hannover Finanz GmbH made it clear that it wants to invest in international growth. Until now, and due to capacity limitations, Simplon concentrated on the German speaking markets only.

No comment

The Simplon management refused to comment on the take-over of their company. The Hannover Finanz Group published a limited statement on the take-over. Their press release says: “The bicycle market offers, especially experts such as the in 1961 by the Hämmerle family founded Simplon company, interesting growth potential.”

Revenues

Simplon is based in Hard at Lake Constance and produces high-end, custom-made premium sports carbon bikes that are sold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In 2013 the company produced 11,200 bicycles and frames and reached with its 51 employees a revenue total of 17.4 million euro.

‘Sparring partner’

The Hannover Finanz Group press release states also: “Within the framework of sustainable growth Simplon aims for a broadened position in the international bicycle market. With Hannover Finanz Group the company brought a sparring partner into the game that will support its sustainable growth.”

55% stake

More details on the take-over are noted by the Austrian Federal Competition Authorities. It says that 55% of the Simplon shares were acquired by: “Fund companies of Hannover Finanz Group based in Vienna and Hanover.” The acquisition is subject to the approval of the Austrian Federal Competition Authorities. A final decision on this is expected for the end of the second quarter of 2014.

More investments

Simplon isn’t the first investment of Hannover Finanz Group in the sporting goods and bicycle sector. In 2005 this private equity company took over a 75% stake in shoe retailer Runners Point. The remaining 25% were owned by the Runners Point management. In May 2013 this company was sold – after doubling sales within eight years – to US giant Footlocker Inc.

Hannover Finanz Group is still involved with a 34.5% share in German ski and bike sports glove and apparel maker Franz Ziener GmbH & Co. KG. They acquired a minority share on this traditional family firm in May 2012.

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