Scott Sports, the Swiss-based cycling and winter sports company, has acquired a majority stake in Probike, its distributor in South Africa and neighboring markets. The stake was bought from Peter Miller, Probike's outgoing chairman, while his former business partner Brandon Els remains a minority shareholder and managing director of Probike.
Probike is described as the largest bicycle distributor in Africa. Apart from its relationship with Scott, Probike has a licensing agreement with Raleigh for Africa excluding Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya, and another licensing agreement for Raleigh in India. Probike has a fully owned subsidiary in India, which also delivers private-label bicycles, parts and accessories on direct shipment to Indian stores, as it does in Africa.
All these activities are expected to remain in place under the ownership of Scott, and Probike's infrastructure should be most useful for Scott's development in emerging markets. Based in Port Elizabeth, Probike will constitute Scott's head office in Africa and Els will report directly to Beat Zaugg, chief executive and owner of Scott Sports. Probike will continue to sell Scott in Africa and could introduce the brand in India at a later stage.
The opportunity to take over Probike arose with Miller's retirement, but it also fits with Scott's strategy to take over its distribution in key markets. The company already has its own business in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, the U.K., Belgium, Sweden and the U.S. The brand already has widespread distribution in Asia and Latin America, through joint ventures and distribution agreements.