Eddy Merckx Cycles has been taken over by fellow Belgium bike business Race Productions, the parent to Ridley.
The five time Tour de France winner’s bike label was sold by Merckx in 2008 and then again last year by Van Diepensteyn NV, which at the time said it would invest up to €27.7 million in the business. Bart van Muylder, CEO of Diepensteyn NV today said that the company’s scale has made it difficult to compete given purchase and subsequently sales prices.
Today’s news, according to the statement released, enables the Merckx label to grow its international reach.
“We sold almost 1,500 Merckx bikes in the United States last year, our limited scale in particular has a negative impact on our buying and selling prices and means that the fixed costs keep our financial results under pressure.
“Also, as a small player we do not have sufficient clout to win the strongest international distribution partners for us.
“If the Merckx brand really wants to break through globally, it had to partner with a big player.
“We found it our responsibility to keep this Belgian heritage in Belgian hands.
“Ridley, with its strapline “We are Belgium”, its worldwide distribution and presence in the WorldTour peloton, is the ideal company to continue the tribute to Eddy Merckx.”
The firm today produces bicycles in steel, aluminium and carbon. In recent years the firm has become less profitable, with the firm recently posting higher turnover, yet recording a €17 million loss since the new ownership took on the brand, €5.7 million of which came in 2016..
Ridley’s CEO Jochim Aerts added: “This brand has so much history and means so much for the Belgian bicycle industry.
“Eddy Merckx and Ridley are the best-known Belgian bicycle brands and they can now strengthen each other.
“We guarantee the survival and further development of this brand.
“This acquisition creates a kind of cross-pollination of the two Belgian brands within our company.”