News Article

Accell Group Reports Strong 2014 Results

Sales & Trends

HEERENVEEN, the Netherlands – Today stock-listed Accell Group NV published its 2014 financial results. The holding of numerous bike companies had an excellent 2014 during which its turnover increased by 8% organically, largely driven by higher electric bike sales.

Accell Group Reports Strong 2014 Results
Accell sold 23% more e-bikes. They account now for 41% of the Group’s overall turnover in the bicycle segment. In particular e-Performance bikes proved popular. – Photo Bike Europe

The company’s net profit increased a big 37% to € 26.1 million in 2014. Operating result (excluding exceptional items) came in at € 44.3 million in 2014, compared with € 36.9 million in 2013. Turnover was 4% higher at € 882.4 million, compared with € 849.0 million in 2013.

Turnover growth in all countries

René Takens, Chairman of the Accell Group Board of Directors said about the company’s 2014 results, “Accell Group had a good year with favourable weather conditions and a slight improvement in the overall economic climate. The Dutch and German brands performed particularly well. While most markets remained stable or improved slightly, we were able to improve our turnover in virtually all the countries in which we are active, partly thanks to the popularity of our electric and sports bikes and the expansion of our parts & accessories business. North America was the only region in which turnover and profit lagged expectations. The group booked organic turnover growth of 8%, and this was the main driver of the improvement in operating result and net profit by 20% and 37% respectively. In the past year, we have focused on consolidation, integration and improved use of scale and efficiency benefits. The reorganizations in North America and the Netherlands are progressing as planned and will be completed in 2015. In addition, last year we also increased the emphasis on further development of our P&A business. Our initial goal on this front is to create a comprehensive European network within the foreseeable future. The acquisition of Comet in Spain and the acquisition of Cycle Service Nordic (CSN) in Denmark, which we completed in early 2015, are very much in line with this strategy.”

Bicycles

Accell Group sold 1,725,000 bikes in 2014; down on the 2013 total of 1,835,000 which was caused (among other factors) by the sale of Hercules last year. Despite the drop in the number of bikes sold turnover was up 5% at € 658.1 million in 2014. Organic turnover growth in the segment amounted to 10%. The largest increase was recorded in the Netherlands (+12%). The average price per bicycle increased to € 377 (2013: € 336) due to the fact that electric bike sales accounted for a greater proportion of overall turnover. Sales of electric bikes came in 23% higher and these now account for 41% (2013: 35%) of Accell Group’s overall turnover in the bicycle segment. Turnover in sports bikes declined by 6%, due to the termination of deliveries to the mass market in the United States. Turnover in traditional bikes remained stable. The segment result was up 16% at € 46.0 million (2013: € 39.8 million).

Parts & accessories

Accell’s turnover in the parts & accessories segment rose by 5% to € 211.5 million in 2014. The money made with Accell’s own brands (largely XLC) recording an increase of 17%. XLC is growing rapidly and is sold worldwide via the existing dealer network of bicycle and sports shops in more than 45 countries. In particular, Accell Group has strong markets positions in P&A sales in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Accell Group booked higher turnover in virtually all the European countries in which it operates. The company is now a step closer to achieving its ambition of a comprehensive European network, following the recent acquisition of Comet and the acquisition of CSN, completed in early 2015. The segment result came in 11% higher at € 11.3 million (2013: € 10.2 million). Turnover in the Netherlands and Germany was up 28% and 1% respectively, and these increases were entirely organic.

Financial position

Accell Group’s balance sheet total stood at € 622.6 million at year-end 2014 (2013: € 579.6 million). Total working capital amounted to € 269.2 million in 2014 (2013: € 284.1 million); working capital as a percentage of turnover came in at 30.5% (2013: 33.5%). The inventories component of working capital was lower in 2014, while finished products bicycles accounted for the largest drop in inventories. At year-end 2014, the number of bicycles in stock was significantly lower than in 2013, due to the optimization of the logistics planning. The total value of inventories stood at € 244.5 million at year-end 2014 (2013: € 251.2 million). Capital employed rose to € 452.1 million in 2014 (2013: € 446.6 million). The return on capital employed stood at 9.8% as per the end of the financial year (2013: 8.3%), based on the operating result corrected for incidental items. The solvency rate had risen to 44.3% at year-end 2014 (2013: 41.4%). Net debt (total of loans, bank credit and cash positions) had dropped to € 152.3 million at year-end 2014 (2013: € 183.6 million).

For the 2014 financial year, Accell Group shareholders will be asked to approve the payment of a dividend of € 0.61 per share (2013: € 0.55), to be paid out in cash or shares. Based on the closing price at year-end 2014 (€ 13.60), the dividend return amounts to 4.5%.

Outlook

On its outlook for 2015 the bike holding company says, ” Accell Group firmly believes that cycling will only become more popular in the years ahead. This will have a positive impact on the demand for parts & accessories. Accell Group brands are in a position to present new collections of products every season, with numerous innovations on the design and technology fronts. Accell Group’s continuous market research guarantees that the group develops the right products. And thanks to ongoing product development, which in turn leads to new (alternative) uses, plus the entry into new markets, sales of electric bikes will continue to grow in the future. Not only are Accell Group’s brands market leaders in the electric bike segment, they are also major players in the market for high-grade sports bikes. Accell Group will expand those market positions in the years ahead, as the current positioning in the middle and higher segments of the market gives the company a solid basis for growth. At the same time, the expansion of complementary activities in the field of parts & accessories will reinforce the Accell Group proposition. This will involve the continued development of a comprehensive European network and growth that will focus primarily on Accell Group’s own international brand XLC. These structural market trends and differentiating factors will together form a strong basis for Accell Group’s revenue model and profit potential in the years ahead. Further increases in scale and the use of synergy and efficiency benefits in the fields of purchasing, production, development and marketing will also enhance the group’s profit potential. In 2015, Accell Group will also be actively looking for ways to increase its scale, both organically and via acquisitions that fit in the group’s profile and (brand) portfolio. At the same time, Accell Group will also be looking to further optimise the cooperation between its country organizations and its brands in 2015. On the basis of the favourable underlying trends, combined with the slightly better macro-economic indicators driving consumer spending, and barring unforeseen circumstances, Accell Group expects to record a further increase in both turnover and result in 2015.”

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