The Nidecker Group has reinforced its share in the snowboarding market by taking over the brand assets of Flow Snowboarding from Flow Sports, the Californian board sports group, at an undisclosed price.
The two companies said that their assets were complementary, and the tie-up will enable both of them to sell their products more widely. The Swiss buyer owns several snowboarding brands, from Nidecker snowboards to Jones snowboards, Yes snowboards and Now snowboard bindings, as well as Laird stand-up paddling products. Flow Sports will continue to operate with other assets, particularly SIC Maui, a leading paddle boarding company.
The Nidecker and Flow Snowboarding brands together generate estimated annual sales in the range of 45,000 boards. They both target the market for occasional riders, but Nidecker has a larger share of products selling at retail prices above €400. Flow is much more strongly established in the market for boots and bindings, and its international partnerships could support the Nidecker brand in several countries, particularly the U.S., Japan, Germany and Austria. The acquisition is estimated to turn the Nidecker group into the third-largest snowboarding company in the international market, behind Burton and K2.
Cedric Nidecker, chief sales officer for the Nidecker group, is taking charge of Flow Snowboarding's international sales, while Thierry Kunz, chief marketing officer for the Nidecker group, is the brand manager for both the Nidecker and Flow Snowboarding brands.
Some of the central functions for Flow Snowboarding are to move from San Clemente in California to Rolle in Switzerland, where Nidecker is based, but the details have yet to be worked out. Anthony Scaturro, chief executive of Flow Sports, had been supervising sales of Flow Snowboarding, with Lucien Vink as a product manager. The brand's marketing function will remain in California, at least for this winter.
Kunz said that the distribution for Flow Snowboarding should remain almost unchanged, but it has already decided to take over the brand's distribution for Switzerland, due to its own resources in the market. The distribution partner currently listed for Flow in Switzerland is Wind & Snow, which sells many other specialist board sports brands.
When it comes to logistics, Flow Snowboarding was using the German-based warehouse of the Pryde Group, which is related to the Flow Sports group, but it will move to Nidecker's warehouse near Basel. The supply chain may be rationalized as well, as the two groups work with a range of sourcing partners in Tunisia, Dubai and China.
The two companies had already been working together for easy-entry bindings, which are a particularly strong asset for Flow Snowboarding. The acquisition comes at a time when Burton and Salomon are both said to be stepping up investments in this category. Nidecker intends to increasingly integrate the Nidecker and Flow brands in terms of products, which has already started on a small scale for the next winter season, with two Flow bindings and one boot model. While declining to provide figures, Nidecker said that Flow Snowboarding was about ten times the size of the Nidecker brand in the market for bindings and boots.