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Accell's IBD sales down in North America, but Ghost sales and strong dollar boost 2015 results

Published February 26, 2016
Global revenues were up 9% last year thanks to e-bikes; profits up 33 percent.

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (BRAIN) — Accell Group is reporting that its global profits and revenues were up significantly in 2015, largely thanks to e-bike sales in Europe. But North American IBD sales remain a sore spot for the Dutch company, which offers Haibike, Raleigh, Diamondback, Ghost and Redline bikes in the U.S. and Canada.

The company said IBD sales in North America declined 10 percent in U.S. dollars, but sales through multi-sport retailers were strong — in particular, sales of the Ghost brand through REI in the U.S. and MEC in Canada. It said its average bike price in North America increased in 2015 (it didn't say by how much), even though e-bike sales in North America remain "limited."

Accell said it "will take additional measures to strengthen the position of our own Raleigh brand in the market" in 2016. It stopped selling Lapierre bikes in North America last year after an unsuccessful launch of the French brand.

Accell's P&A sales in North America also declined, which the company partly attributed to a trend toward dealer direct sales by suppliers. Accell's SBS distribution business realigned its warehousing and trimmed back its offerings in 2015; it announced in November it would stop selling Shimano parts.

Strong Ghost sales and the strong dollar combined to offset the weaker spots in Accell's North American businesses, resulting in an overall sales increase of 16 percent from the region.

Global revenues were 986.4 million euros ($1.077 billion) for the year, up from 882 million euros in 2014. Profits were up 33 percent, to 58.5 million euros.

While sales in the Netherlands were down 5 percent, the company saw sales increases in Germany (up 16 percent) and the rest of Europe (up 14 percent).

E-bike sales drove up Accell's average bike sales from 377 euros to 437 euros. Sales of electric bikes were up 20 percent and now account for 45 percent of the company's sales.

The total number of bikes sold declined in 2015, from 1.725 million in 2014 to 1.642 million last year.

The company also was carrying more inventory value at the end of 2015 than in prior years, partly due to the higher average price of bikes. It had 338 million euros in inventory at year's end, up from 244 million euros at the end of 2014.

Accell's bottom line for the year was trimmed a bit as a result of the theft of 4 million euros from the company's Taiwan office.

The company said it has concluded that the theft was an isolated incident and it is taking measures to prevent it from happening again. But the company has apparently decided it will not recover the money and wrote off a roughly 4 million euro charge on its 2015 figures.

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