The post-Covid boom in the bicycle sector fuelled the revenues of Accell Group in 2020, which soared by 17.0 percent organically from the previous year to €1,296 million, thanks mainly to sustained high demand for bicycles, parts and accessories across Europe. The results do not include the group’s former operations in North America, which Accell divested last year to focus on Europe.
The management said that it saw a very strong recovery and sustained high demand in the second half of the year, after bike shops across the continent reopened following the end of the first lockdowns. The growth was broad-based, with strong contributions from e‐bikes, e‐cargo bikes, parts & accessories. The growth in the bicycle segment came in at 10.9 percent, with e‐bikes and cargo-bikes up by 15 and 43 percent, respectively. Sales of traditional bikes declined by 10 percent.
This strong top-line growth, combined with efforts to reduce costs, led to a 45.4 percent increase in the underlying operating profit (Ebit) to €79.7 million. The owner of Haibike, Lapierre, Batavus, Raleigh and many other bicycle brands saw its net profit for the year reach €64.8 million, compared with €2.8 million for the previous year. Meanwhile, the Dutch-based group rolled out improved digital brand platforms such as raleigh.co.uk in Britain and implemented CRM across the group.
The growth reached a level of 18.1 percent in the Benelux countries. Sales in Central Europe - including Germany, Switzerland and Austria - showed a slight decline of 0.4 percent. The region’s strong sales recovery in the second half of the year was hampered by a lower availability of bikes from the group’s suppliers. In the rest of Europe - mainly the U.K., the Nordics and France - Accell saw sales jump by 28.1 percent.
The Parts & Accessories business recorded a sales increase of 36.2 percent, driven by strong sales to dealers and online shops across Europe.
The group said that there is some uncertainty in the short term about the effects of the pandemic on its facilities, shop openings and consumer behavior. Customer orders have continued to be strong so far in 2021, but an increase in lead times and delayed deliveries from component suppliers, combined with logistical disruptions, are expected to drive a shift from the first half to the second half of 2021, as it did in 2020.
Accell has arranged an additional credit facility of €115 million to create a financial buffer that will secure access to liquidity. In return, the company has agreed to amend its loan covenants and to distribute no dividends for the 2020 financial year.