ZEG CEO Honkomp: ‘Swiss Production is Basic Flyer Value’
HUTTWIL, Switzerland – The German retail cooperative ZEG took over all shares of e-bike manufacturer Biketec in Emmental from the majority shareholder EGS Investments AG as well as minority shareholder Peter Isler for an undisclosed amount. ZEG’s CEO Georg Honkomp told the assembled Biketec staff that, “Production in Switzerland is one of Flyer’s basic values and should remain intact.”
The take-over is not a big surprise as the Swiss e-bike pioneer has been struggling to maintain its market position since EGS Investments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ernst Göhner Foundation, stepped in 5.5 years ago.
‘Long delivery times’
According to Franz Studer, Manager Investments at EGS Investments and chairman of the board of directors at Biketec AG, the company’s difficult market position is related to, “the euro crisis, increased competition and above all long delivery times to the dealers in the aftermath of the conversion to a new the operating system last year.” He did not mention Flyer’s somewhat slow entry on the rapidly growing e-MTB train.
The active involvement, for which EGS is likely to have invested a double-digit million figure, also included a restructuring of the purchasing and logistics processes as well as the distribution. EGS also allows for the acquisition of the distributors in the Netherlands and Austria. According to Franz Studer, “Biketec’s board of directors was aware, that the tasks the company is facing now can be solved more efficient and promising together with a partner in the industry. The ZEG is an ideal strategic partner.”
Beneficial for Biketec and ZEG
The acquisition of premium e-bike brand Flyer makes it possible for ZEG to strengthen the brand strategy as a specialist next to Wanderer, Hercules and Kettler. It is also supplementary to its own brands Pegasus, Bulls, Zemo and Green Mover.
Biketec, on the other hand, can benefit from considerably better conditions thanks to the purchasing and development power as well as the economies of scale of much larger ZEG. The dealer cooperative supplies some 1,000 affiliated dealers and especially in potential growth markets like France and Poland, ZEG can be a door-opener for Flyer. However, the question is how the 290 existing Flyer dealers in Switzerland and approximately another 700 in 5 export countries will react, now the company is suddenly part of the ZEG. Question is also how the customers will react. As long as the production continues in Emmental, the image of Swiss quality product will remain and probably not much will happen.