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After Liquidation, Sturmey-Archer’s Future Lies In Its Pieces

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NOTTINGHAM, UK (10 October) – Sturmey-Archer Limited is in liquidation. According to managing director Alan Clarke of Sturmey-Archer Europe, the Amsterdam based sales office, the traditional British component maker officially went into liquidation on 5 October. This brings an end to much emotional speculation on the British maker’s future. What remains is finding a buyer. […]

NOTTINGHAM, UK (10 October) – Sturmey-Archer Limited is in liquidation. According to managing director Alan Clarke of Sturmey-Archer Europe, the Amsterdam based sales office, the traditional British component maker officially went into liquidation on 5 October. This brings an end to much emotional speculation on the British maker’s future. What remains is finding a buyer. And chances are there won’t be just one – Sturmey-Archer Limited’s future lies in its pieces. At a creditor’s meeting held on 9 October, a joint liquidation team of KPMG and Smith & Williamson had been appointed to manage the company through the coming weeks, including paying people to produce products and finish orders. Apparently, there are several companies interested in purchasing Sturmey, or at least parts of it, including former owner Derby Cycle Corp. “We may be interested in purchasing some of its bicycle related divisions,” said Derby Cycle Corp. CEO Gary Matthews during a telephone interview. Asked whether the company is catching a lot of flack due to Sturmey’s dire position – after all, many accuse Derby of hastily selling off the company to a ‘gray’ investment firm – Matthews notes that Lenark was the only viable offer that accepted Derby’s conditions of keeping Sturmey in Nottingham. “It took us six months to find Lenark. The company had a lot of money in the bank. We visited their offices several times. They had no past record of insolvency or selling off businesses.” Though Matthews did not name what Sturmey division Derby would be interested in having, Europe’s largest bicycle group most likely has its eye on the spoke and nipple division. Up to the point of liquidation, an estimated 60% of Sturmey’s spoke and nipple production went to Derby Cycle Corp. brands. The most attractive Derby brand asset is well-known saddle manufacturer Brooks. Apparently, a number of firms have already stepped forward as possible acquisition candidates. More troubling is the prospects for the gear and brake division, which will require the largest investment from its future owner. It is not entirely out of the question that an Asian company will step forward to acquire Sturmey’s name, its patents and its components. Also, whether Western or not, the future owner is likely to continue the production of hub gears. Sturmey-Archer controls about 15% of the European market for hub gears. Yearly production stands now at about 500,000 units. (JW)

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