Now employee owned, Planet X secures overseas growth funding

Having made good on Dave Loughran’s promise to convert the Planet X to an entity where the ownership is shared by staff, the firm’s first step has been to secure additional funding to steer the business.

The news comes as Santander has approved a new £1.5 million trade finance facility for the business, alongside a range of additional support measures totalling £3.225 million. This funding support has been outlaid in a bid to assist overseas growth, in particular further outreach into Europe. At present, international sales are made up of 22% of turnover from Europe and 5% from the rest of world.

The online only, consumer direct bike label now operates as an Employee-Owned Trust, something introduced by the Government in 2014 in a bid to facilitate wider employee involvement in businesses and encourage a greater engagement within workforces. Around 50 staff now make up the Planet X team.

Trevor Parker, Planet X Director, commented: “The Santander team is excellent, their understanding of our Employee Owned Trust business model gives us great confidence and adds commercial value to our decision making. By listening and understanding our concerns, they were able to present practical solutions to overcome them. With this funding we can react to the changing market, both in terms of Brexit and Covid-19, and our supply chain is now extended.”

Andrew Russell, Relationship Director at Santander UK, said: “Planet X has a proven track record in the cycling world of delivering quality bikes and accessories at competitive prices and continues to be a great success story. We’re delighted to be chosen as their banking partner and look forward to working with them to realise their growth strategy and expand into new territories.”

On making the announcement of a transfer of ownership in November of 2019, Loughran expressed an admiration for entrepreneur Hugh Facey, founder of Sheffield business Gripple, himself a boss that had signed over ownership of his own company to 300 employees.