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Rossignol considers restructuring, closing or selling its Time Sport frame business

Published March 6, 2020
The company says frame sales have declined by almost half in the last year.

By Alex Solo

SAINT-JEAN-DE-MOIRANS, France (BRAIN) — France's Rossignol Group — which besides its ski business owns Rossignol Bike, Time Sport and Felt Bicycle — says it is considering making big changes to the Time frame business and its frame factory in Gajary, Slovakia.

The changes could include downsizing, closing, or selling the factory, according to a statement Rossignol's PR agency provided to the French trade press. Time's shoe and pedal business is excluded from the company's strategic review of options. Rossignol bought Time in 2016 a few months after the brand's founder, Roland Cattin, died.

"Sales of frames and bikes under the Time brand have dropped by almost half in the past year," the statement read, translated from French. "We are still facing too-high costs. Our limited production capacities do not allow us to offer competitive prices against high end bikes competitors that design their products in countries with low manufacturing costs, despite the synergies achieved following the consolidation of the production of the frames activity at our factory in Gajary, in Slovakia, at the beginning of the year."

The brand's employees were told that this examination concerns the carbon frame production and assembling site in Gajary and the brand's headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Moirans, France, where the design and marketing departments are located.

A U.S.-based representative for the brand told BRAIN the company will release more details about its strategy soon.

According to the French statement, the company will consider options including the closure of the Gajary facility and an exit from carbon frame production. "The (examination) procedure aims to inform the employees of the structural difficulties and to share with them the various options currently under study, including the resizing of production and the sale of the factory," said the company. Two buyers have shown interest in purchasing the factory, it said, although it's not clear if Rossignol is interested in selling the Time frame business or just the facility.

The company did not say if it would consider moving production to Asia, where most of its competitors build their frames.

Last year Rossignol announced a restructuring plan that led to the closure of its frame factory in Voreppe, France, causing the loss of 29 jobs. Frame production was consolidated in Gajary "to optimize the production and to improve the integration of Time Sport in the Group's bike division bringing it together with Rossignol and Felt," Rossignol said at the time.

The French company bought Felt in 2017. At the time, it said it hoped to triple its cycling revenues, across all three brands, within four or five years.

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