Avanti Bicycle Company purchases Pacific Brands bicycle division

So I received this press release out of the blue on Friday. I didn't see it coming at all, but maybe I should have, what with Pacific here in New Zealand losing Haro recently. As you can tell the press release doesn't give too much away about the new direction. Pacific Brands, among other bike companies, currently handle Diamond Back and are responsible for Aussie and New Zealand not having access to any of the top end bikes that Kelly McGarry rides; the only DB's available Down Under are bargain basement Warehouse models. Will this change? I hope so, I mean imagine being Kelly, New Zealand's first ever fully sponsored pro freerider. He's been getting double page ads in the best magazines in the world, yet they will never run in his home country and at the moment we can't even buy the bikes he rides. As well as Diamond Back, Pacific Brands' range of bike brands includes Malvern Star, Ridley, Repco and Norco.

Press Release starts below...

Avanti Bicycle Company Ltd has purchased the bicycle division of Pacific Brands. Completion of the sale and handover of the business is scheduled to take place on 1st September 2011. Avanti Bicycle Company Ltd is part of the New Zealand and Australian based “Sheppard Group”, which has operated successfully in the bicycle industry for over 30 years. The acquisition is the biggest in its history and will effectively double its turnover and solidify the group a formidable competitor in the Australian and New Zealand bicycle markets. John Struthers, Managing Director and owner of the Sheppard Group said that “the purchase is a strategic one for us and the economies of scale it will deliver across purchasing, marketing, warehousing, account servicing, product development and brands will bring with it many positives for us, our suppliers and for the bicycle retailers”. Struthers went on to say that “with an acquisition of this size we are initially focused on ensuring we do not disrupt the service level of both business units and therefore Pacific Brands logistics will continue to support us for some time to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible”. Struthers and his team are giving careful consideration to moving the new businesses’ office and administration functions will to the Pacific Brands bike division headquarters in Altona North, Victoria. The general manager of the overall Australian operation is Steve Paraskevas who as a former general manager at Pacific Brands bicycle division is very familiar with the business and the opportunities that come with the purchase. Paraskevas pointed out that the acquisition is “hugely exciting and will bring real benefits to bicycle retailers, our teams and the brands involved for both Australia and New Zealand”. The acquisition will form a formidable team in management, sales, brand management and administration. Paraskevas agrees, “we have a lot of confidence that we will have the best team in the industry as there is a huge pool of talent on both sides that will provide real expertise in critical areas for the future such as retail marketing and operations, product innovation and distribution.” Paraskevas was enthusiastic about the future, “We will have the most compelling range of product in the market and with the collective group of brands and a wider distribution network we will be able to channel more investment into areas such as marketing and product development to continue to help grow cycling in Australia and New Zealand, it’s going to be fantastic”. Brian Gillin who has been with Pacific Brands for many years has joined the Sheppard Group with the change in ownership and said today that “I am very excited about this new venture and I believe it will really take all the brands to a new level, with market leadership and business efficiencies. There will be strong benefits for all our dealers giving them a strong and focused distribution partner to help face the current challenging times.” It’s certainly a big and bold move for the business that started out life as a small cycle manufacturer in Auckland New Zealand some 30 years ago and now boasts significant businesses in both Australia and New Zealand distributing, manufacturing and marketing many successful product and retail brands. Struthers was determined that “while this is without doubt a significant move for us we are very focused on staying grounded, keeping the existing relationships strong and ensuring we do the basics well by looking after our customers”. Exciting times ahead.