Sales and profit growth at Accell; IBDs lauded

Accell Group N.V.'s 2003 net profit of €9.2 million ($10.4m) is a rise of 35 percent compared with 2002. Turnover climbed 12 percent to €289.6m ($327.8m). Accell owns bicycle brands such as Batavus, Koga Miyata, Sparta, Hercules, Lapierre and Mercier. Last year it was in the running to buy Cannondale.
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A company statement, released on Accell's website, said the strong performances were due to "the increased turnover in high quality bicycles, bicycle parts and bicycle accessories, a good sales mix, and the contribution of Finnish company Tunturi," acquired in August 2003.

René Takens, Accell chairman said:

“A consistent brand strategy, a focused use of marketing tools and continuous innovation geared to consumer demands have enabled us to book substantial profit growth for the fourth consecutive year. We are also pleased that this success is reflected in our share price. For 2004, we again expect to see further growth in turnover and earnings per share.”

The earnings per share over the average number of outstanding shares amounted to €2.76 ($3.12) in 2003, a rise of 34 percent compared with the 2002 earnings per share of €2.06 ($1.95).

The Accell statement said: "Despite the continued generally low consumer confidence, bicycle consumers are consciously opting for high-quality products. This deliberate choice of consumers continues to be an important driving force behind the positive development of the demand for Accell Group’s branded products. In 2003 the company also benefited from the favourable weather conditions. The sales mix was good and product margins improved, partly because the prices of bicycle parts have been falling from season to season due to the continued weakening of the US dollar and the Japanese yen.

"In 2003, Accell Group’s competitive position in Western Europe has again improved due to close cooperation with the professional trade and distributors focusing on the specialist bicycle shops, as well as the consistent strategy, regarding its strong brand portfolio which focuses on the middle and higher segments of the markets."

Earlier this month Accell signed a letter of intent signed for the acquisition of Veenendaal-based Juncker B.V., one of the biggest bicycle P&A distributors in the Netherlands.

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