Shimano's bike division saw sales rise by 4.1 percent

Shimano saw a 4.1 percent sales rise in its bicycle division, reveals the Japanese company's 2017 financials. Looking to the future the firm's corporate report welcomed the Trump administration's tax reforms, but worried that "global conflict" and "confusion" might wipe out any gains.

"In the US, the economy will be upheld by a better corporate investment sentiment resulting from tax reforms and by recovery in personal consumption on the back of a good employment environment, but concerns exist that the increasing risk of global conflict and confusion in domestic politics will pour cold water on the economy," mused the statement.

The company's operating income in the bicycle division was down 0.8 percent although sales of the Dura-Ace Di2 group and the latest STEPS e-bike drive unit in 2017 were said to have been "robust". Bicycle division sales in 2017 were 270,206m yen (£1.8 billion.)

The Shimano statement complained that sales of complete bikes in North America "lacked vigour". However, it was also reported that US distributor inventory levels were lower than in 2016.

Sales in Europe started slow but improved in the second half of the year, leading to the same total as the previous year.

Bike sales in China dipped below 2016 levels. In the rest of the world bike sales were largely flat at best.

Shimano's report forecasts a 6.3 percent increase in sales in the first half of the year and a 4.2 percent increase for 2018 as a whole.

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