PARIS (BRAIN) — Global ski powerhouse Rossignol is in exclusive talks to buy Time Sport International, it announced Wednesday. Rossignol is looking to diversify to insulate itself from the effects of climate change, which is making the ski market more uncertain.
Rossignol produces more than a fifth of all skis sold worldwide. It owns the Look ski bindings brand, but the Look bicycle brand is operated separately. According to Rossignol, Time employs 120 people and posted sales of nearly 12 million euros ($12.7 million) last year. Time's founder, Roland Cattin, died last year. His daughter, Julia Cattin, now leads the company.
"The objective is to complement skiing with an outdoor activity that isn't tied to winter sports, to add a second pillar to the group so it doesn't depend only on snow," the company's chief executive, Bruno Cercley, said in a press release.
"Cycling is a sector with strong potential and is very dynamic, which would be very complementary between winter and summer," he added.
Rossignol pointed out that the two French companies have a lot in common. Rossignol has its headquarters and a production facility in the Isère region, where Time has its headquarters and its production facility at Vaulx Milieu, just a few miles from Rossignol's headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Moirans. Both companies also have production facilities in the Nièvre region, specifically in Varennes Vauzelles for Time and in Nevers for the Look bindings brand.
The companes also have similar client bases, regionally and demographically, and each has "a tradition of innovation and high-tech products, as well as a common expertise in composite materials," Rossignol said. Both brands have been involved in high-level professional sports.
"Strongly geared toward export (55 percent of Time's production is intended for export, 75 percent for Rossignol), Time will benefit from the commercial strength of the Rossignol Group, of its marketing know-how and its industrial and R&D investment capabilities," Rossignol said.
Cercley said: "Our joint venture seems like an obvious step, due to our numerous commonalities, our natural complementarity and our similar business philosophies. Our teams are excited to contribute to the development of such a prestigious brand. The acquisition project of Time is fully in line with our ambition to develop in complementary sectors, contribute to the deseasonalizing of our primary business while diversifying our product lines with the same standard of quality."
Julia Cattin, the CEO of Time, said: "In 30 years, our family company has built a strong identity, anchored in France, a reputation for excellence and a passion which we find at Rossignol. Our teams know that with the Rossignol Group, we will be in the very best of hands to look toward the future with confidence and conquer new markets with every possible asset."
In another move to diversify, Rossignol announced Wednesday that it was launching a high-end sportswear and fashion lifestyle line. It has appointed fashion industry veteran Alessandro Locatelli as CEO of its new apparel division. The new lines will be sold worldwide by fashion retailers and via Rossignol company stores in prestigious French, Swiss and Italian mountain destinations including Chamonix, Cortina d'Ampezzo and St. Moritz.