Frog Bikes is to open a bike factory in South Wales, creating 50 new jobs within five years. Frog specialises in childrens’ bikes. The factory in Torfaen, near Pontypool, will assemble bikes from frames welded and painted in China.
The new facility is being funded with a business expansion loan of £1.7m from HSBC. The Welsh Government is also providing support. Frog was founded by husband and wife Jerry and Shelley Lawson. The company is based in Surrey and will retain this HQ.
“It’s a lot easier to commute to Wales than China, which is what Jerry is doing at the moment,” Shelley Lawson told BikeBiz.
Twenty jobs will be created in Torfaen initially, with expansion later adding another 30.
“The new operation will enable us to be more responsive to the market, have more control over quality, introduce innovations faster, and reduce our environmental footprint,” said Lawson.
She added: “We experienced rapid growth in the last 12 months, and there have been times when we couldn’t keep up with demand. Having greater control will enable us to be more flexible.”
Assembling in the UK will not make Frog Bikes more expensive. “Not having to pay anti-dumping duties for whole bicycles produced in the Far East makes a substantial difference to the economic model,” said Lawson.
Welsh Government Economy Minister Edwina Hart welcomed Frog Bikes to Wales: “Support from the Welsh Government helped secure this project for Wales where it will create a significant number of jobs in Torfaen.”
Frog Bikes are available through 800 independent bike stores in the UK and 24 countries overseas. The company was recognised as the Export Business of the Year at the Start-ups Awards in 2015.