The Rossignol Group has rejigged the management of Time Sport International and moved its production, as part of the plans to nearly triple the French cycling brand's turnover to about €30 million in three to five years' time. The group already reported a rise of 40 percent in pre-orders for 2017.
As previously reported, Time was fully acquired by the holding above the Rossignol group earlier this year. The price was undisclosed but it appears that the buyer primarily took over and restructured debt as part of the transaction. It was acquired due to the complementary aspects of the products in seasonal terms, often targeting the same customers, with most of the production taking place in France and other European countries. While Rossignol has been eager to emphasize the proximity of the two companies in terms of quality and other values, the much larger scope of the Rossignol group strongly support Time's development in terms of organization, logistics and many other tools.
After the appointment of Sylvain Noailly as chief executive of Time, as well as a broader function as vice president of the bike division, digital and business development for the Rossignol group, the cycling brand's management was reinforced with Pascal Navarro, global commercial director. He was previously sales manager at Look Cycles International, the Time group's French rival in the market for automatic pedals and bicycles. Eric Boyer, a former cycling professional, commentator and team manager, was appointed as racing and sports marketing manager at Time in May.
Incidentally, Look Cycles changed majority ownership in June and appointed a new chief executive, Federico Musi, who previously served as senior vice president for the Piaggio Group in southern Europe.
Time's offices were moved over the summer from Vaulx-Milieu, near Lyon. They switched to Voreppe, which is closer to Grenoble and within walking distance of the Rossignol head office. The new location includes a production plant for bicycle frames that was previously in Vaulx-Milieu. The most distinctive aspect of the production is carbon-braiding, which Rossignol says is unique for the production of frames in the bicycle industry. Carbon fiber is braided into a “sock,” which is then slipped onto a resin mold. That mold is later melted away while the sock is solidified with Time's resin molding technology. About 75 percent of the frames are made in France, while the remainder is manufactured in Gajary, Slovakia. Complete bicycles also integrate some Asian-made components. Rossignol has thus worked out that its bicycles were made in France at 55 percent to 80 percent.
Time previously had its own production unit for pedals near Nevers, which was moved to a nearby plant making bindings under the Look brand – belonging to the Rossignol group (the intricacies of the relationship between Look, Time and Rossignol were outlined in a previous article). Some of the production capacity at Time may well be used for other products at a later stage.
About 35 percent of Time's turnover comes from the French market and 60 percent from Europe. Among the group's objectives, Rossignol wants to grow the distribution for the Time brand to about 300 brand-oriented stores in 50 countries in three years, compared with 30 countries for the time being. The group has worked out that a turnover of €30 million would amount to a share of about 5.5 percent in the high-end bicycle market. Another target is to increase its turnover outside Europe by 50 percent in three years at most.
As it moves into new markets, Time may sometimes lean on the existing Rossignol structure. That is the case in Sweden and Norway, where the ski brand recently switched from a distribution agreement to its own subsidiary in Sweden, with an office in Oslo. In other cases Time has changed its distribution, as occurred in Switzerland, Italy and Taiwan. The new Swiss partner is Ofelec, while Time's distributor in Italy since September is Larm, which already has brands like Giro, Bell, Ridley and Camelbak in its portfolio. Another switch was made in Taiwan, where Time's distribution was transferred to AA Biking.
The expansion is meant to take advantage of the group's production technology and assets such as the Aktiv fork that reduces vibration, and extra products such as the launch of a triathlon range. Time is equally upbeat about its potential in pedals, which could benefit strongly from increased distribution. Time could focus on an intermediate sports cycling category for the pedals (between leisure cycling and competition). Shimano is by far the market leader in this category but Time is confident it could take market share with a strong product.
The Rossignol brand itself had already moved into the bicycle market with electrical mountain bikes made by BH under a three-year partnership. The company could use the Rossignol brand to develop in the mountain bicycle rental market and eventually the wider mountain biking business, but it will probably refrain from moving into road cycling. In any case, Time's acquisition is unlikely to be Rossignol's last in cycling as Bruno Cercley, the group's chief executive, said that the company aimed to become a major player in this market – the earlier the better.