In a deal worth £750 000, what bikebiz.co.uk readers have known for more than 10 days, has now been made official: Sun Race of Taiwan is the new owner of Sturmey Archer.
In a press statement, released yesterday, what shines out is the evident pride that Sun Race has in its acquisition. Sun Race Roots Enterprise Co. Ltd is to change its name to Sun Race Sturmey-Archer Inc.
Sun Race will be spending $3.5m to get the brand rolling again, including introducing the patented eight-speed Sturmey hub sometime in 2002.
Twenty container loads of Sturmey Archer tooling, accessories, and spare parts are soon to be shipped out to the well-equipped, modern, eight-floor Sun Race factory in Taiwan.
Sun Race will use the tooling to re-supply the European and worldwide market for Sturmey hubgears. The first made in Taiwan Sturmey Archer products will be shipped in March/April.
Before Sturmeys demise in September a collapse that came soon after Gary Matthews and the Derby board sold the 98-year old company for £30 to an unknown investment house which took lots of cash out, but put none in Sturmey Archer was third behind Shimano and SRAM in the European production of internal hub gears. The new owners have said they want to grow Sturmey Archer:
It is Sun Race Sturmey-Archers intention to make Sturmey-Archer NOT as the third player but as the leading player, like Sturmey-Archer has been in the glorious past, said the Sun Race press release.
If you have read the book The Sturmey Archer Story [by Tony Hadland, Ed.], you must wait and see the latest chapter that is beginning to form. The title is The Sturmey Archer Story, Part II: The Comeback.
The Nottingham South MP Alan Simpson believes Sturmey need not have left the UK. He told the Nottingham Evening Post:
"[The sale to Sun Race] shows that the one thing that could not be destroyed is the standing of the Sturmey Archer name throughout the world. It embodies the dignity and quality which the workforce put into the company that is why Sun Race wants it.
"It shows there is still a demand for the product and the name is still hugely respected.
The £750 000 from SunRace, the money from the MBO at Brooks saddles, and the hoped for £1.25m raised at the ongoing auction will go some way to paying the £3m owed to former Sturmey Archer staff. The employee group is the third prefential creditor (after tax and VAT) and liquidator Peter Blair, of KPMG, said employees are likely to get at least half of what they are owed.
The person Sturmey staffers blame the most for their current predicament is Gary Matthews, CEO of the Derby Cycle Corporation in the US.
Those I spoke to on the first day of the three-day Sturmey Archer auction were bitter. Most said that should Matthews bail out of Derby or if he is pushed he will leave with a healthy corporate severance package whilst many of the former Sturmey employees will be struggling to make ends meet this Christmas.
Many came up to me and said they had enjoyed the story from Monday entitled Has Finden-Crofts put the brake on Matthews?
However, Gary Matthews says he has not been demoted. He emailed BikeBiz:
To correct your website, Mr. Finden-Crofts has not been "installed above
the current CEO" at Derby. He reports to the Board, as I do.
TOP PIC: Not all of the Sturmey factory went under the hammer. Sun Race engineers cherry picked a few of the more modern items...