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Message from the CEO

The mobility revolution
is here to stay

 

We are part of an incredible transformation of cycling that will change all aspects of our lives in an unprecedented way. And 2021 was another step on this exciting journey.

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E-Bikes on the rise

One development which has been taking place for some years already and which gained momentum in 2021, is the growing popularity of electric bicycles and e-cargo bikes. The e-bike, which Accell was the pioneer manufacturer of in 2004, makes the world more accessible for a large group of people. We see that people are more easily inclined to switch to an e-bike for their daily commutes and leisure activities. Parents are enthusiastically adopting e-cargo bikes to transport their kids, and businesses in urban areas are using them to replace delivery vans. Bikes are increasingly replacing cars and thereby contributing among other things to a more livable environment and less traffic congestion urban areas . We expect the demand for fast, safe and good-quality e-bikes and e-cargo bikes will increase further over the coming decade.

In recent months, we launched a variety of new e-cargo concepts for our Raleigh, Winora, Batavus, Babboe and Carqon brands in order to further strengthen our position in this fast-growing bike segment.

 

Disruption in the supply chain

These positive developments in 2021 were also accompanied by lockdowns which disrupted the supply chain in Asia and Europe in particular. Low vaccination coverage and local lockdown measures forced the closure of many factories in Asia during the May to October period. In addition to this disruption, we saw increased global demand which resulted in a continued shortage of components.

 

Accell, like many other bicycle manufacturers, could therefore not manufacture enough bicycles to meet constant high consumer demand. In addition, this scarcity caused inflation across the entire bicycle industry.

Solid results

Net sales increased with 6.2% to € 1,377 million due to higher sales (mainly in volume) of Parts & Accessories and higher bicycle sales resulting from improved pricing. Our underlying Earnings before Interest and Tax (EBIT) improved with 33.7% to € 106.6 million, including one-offs our EBIT increased with 47.3% to € 110.1 million. Accounting for the higher financing costs which includes the depreciation of the Turkish lira, we recorded a net profit of € 70 million. Our Trade Working Capital (TWC) increased to 33.1% per year end. Given the supply disruptions Accell invested additionally in component stock levels to optimize its intended production volumes which is reflected in the higher TWC percentage. The investment in inventory is also the main driver for the negative cash flow of € 127.4 million per year-end.

Employees and a strengthened sustainability strategy

In 2021 our Accell employees contributed directly to increased production, the improvement of our service, the strengthening of our online sales channels and the winning of new markets and consumers. We also tightened our sustainability strategy for the coming years in 2021 by making clear choices and focussing our attention on the supply chain among other things, and by delivering more sustainable bicycles and cycling products made in a responsible way.

After all, themes such as healthy lifestyle, livable cities and a healthy environment are the foundations of our purpose.

2022: new normality, new strategy

With today's knowledge, we see many countries combatting the pandemic with measures other than lockdowns. We seem to be entering a new social 'normality'. We do expect that the effects of the limited availability of components and delivery delays will last throughout 2022.

 

In 2022 we will recalibrate our strategic plan, taking into account the latest developments at Accell, the market, society and new business opportunities. This new strategy for the period 2023-2026 will be presented to the Supervisory Board in the second half of 2022.

 

Consortium led by KKR offer for Accell Group

In November 2021, Accell Group received an initial unsolicited proposal for all the shares of Accell Group from a consortium led by KKR. The Accell Group Board of Management subsequently followed a thorough process which led to the announcement of a recommended cash offer for Accell Group at an offer price of € 58.00 per share on 24 January 2022. It is expected that we will discuss the offer with our shareholders at the Extraordinary General Meeting of shareholders (EGM) in Q2 2022.

 

Moving forward together

Despite these turbulent times, workers in our factories and warehouses continued production, while others mostly worked from home and kept in touch with colleagues and business relations online. It is thanks to the loyalty and flexibility of our people, dealers and suppliers that we were able to continue delivering bikes and cycling products through 2021. I have a great deal of respect for everyone's dedication and would like to thank you all.

 


TON ANBEEK
CEO Accell Group N.V.