Both the bicycle components and fishing tackle divisions of Shimano benefited from the Covid-19 crisis in the first quarter of 2021. Overall, Shimano’s quarterly sales – as compared to the first three months of last year – grew 64.4 percent to 126.43 billion yen (€961.6m-$1.2bn). The gross margin rose by two full percentage points to 40.8 percent. The quarterly operating income of ¥32.57 billion (€247.7m-$299.0m) was up as much as 157.3 percent from the same period last year. Ordinary income increased by 58.3 percent to ¥36.95 billion (€281.0m-$339.2m), thanks in part to foreign exchange gains and other factors.

The company indicated that the demand for its products continued to surge in the U.S., boosted by the government’s stimulus package. It was more subdued in Europe and Japan as enhanced lockdown measures hurt personal consumption.

Shimano’s largest business segment, bicycle components, continued to cruise in high regions due to the global demand for bicycles triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Its net sales increased by 76.3 percent year-on-year to ¥103.76 billion (€789.2m-$952.6m) in the quarter, and its operating income rose by 169.3 percent to ¥27.73 billion (€210.9m-$254.6m). In this regard, Shimano cited “robust retail sales of bicycles and bicycle-related products in overseas markets, including Europe and North America,” while admitting that “supply has not kept pace with demand.” As a result, inventory shortages occurred in both markets.

The order intake was particularly lively for Shimano’s new EP8 series of sporty e-bike components, as well as for the new Deore MTB series “and a wide range of existing products overall.”

Shimano’s fishing tackle segment saw sales grow by 25.6 percent to ¥22.58 billion (€171.8m-$207.3m). Operating income climbed by 102.7 percent to ¥4.85 billion (€36.9m-$44.5m), thanks to strong demand from long-time anglers and the emergence of a new customer base that is discovering fishing as an outdoor recreational activity with a low risk of infection. The market for fishing tackle is flourishing on a global scale, said Shimano.

Looking ahead to the first half of 2021, Shimano left its previous forecasts for total sales and operating profit unchanged, but revised its forecasts for the ordinary results slightly upward in connection with a higher-than-expected devaluation of Asian currencies in the first quarter of this year.

While total sales of ¥455.50 billion (€3.5bn-$4.2bn) and operating income of ¥105.0 billion (€798.5m-$963.8m) are still expected for the full year, the forecast for ordinary income was raised by 4 percent to ¥109.5 billion (€832.7m-$1.0bn) from the previous guidance. Compared with 2020, this would represent a 20.5 percent increase in total sales, a 27 percent increase in operating income and a 34.4 percent increase in ordinary income.