Gas Gas returns to profit

gasgaspro2012_400Gas Gas returns to profit in a very difficult context for the motorcycle sector in Catalonia, with the risk of dismantling the Yamaha and Derbi factories.

The well-known Trial brand, based in Salt (Girona), closed the 2010 /2011 financial year on July 31 with a profit before tax of 1.1 million euros, after losing 700,000 euros in the previous year. Net sales were €39.5 million, up almost 19%. The firm sold about 9,000 motorcycles, up 20 percent.

The company is 73% owned by Vector Capital, a venture capital company of Caixa Penedés. Its CEO, José Fernando Cuevas, says that the main lever of change has been internationalization. Previously, the company shared 50% of its sales between Spain and abroad. In the last financial year, exports accounted for 85% of turnover.

EndurovsTrial-17France has become the leading gas market , ahead of Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, according to Cuevas, who points out that the future lies in the United States, Brazil, Japan and South Africa, where its presence is still very modest. Another key to Gas Gas’ recovery is the commitment to enduro bikes. Its market is wider and growing.

Around 10,000 trial bikes are sold worldwide every year. Gas Gas has a 45% stake, after recovering the land ceded to Italy’s Beta and France’s Sherco.
“Trial is our DNA,”
says Cuevas, who points out that it is a stable market.

Endurovstrial-31On the other hand, about 160,000 enduro units are sold per year, and Gas Gas’ share is just 2.5%, with the Austrian KTM as the leader.
“Enduro is the future of the company,” says the head of
Vector. The new enduro model – to which the company has allocated one million euros – will be the star of Gas Gas in 2012.

“It has been very difficult for us to turn the company around,” says Cuevas, who praises the ” extraordinary work” of Ramón Puente, CEO and owner of 10% of the company, where Ingenia Capital retains 17%.

But there are still storm clouds. Yamaha’s closure plans have forced Gas Gas to look for alternative suppliers, as it shared some with the Japanese group. Cuevas fears that other local providers will end up closing. The Vector executive believes that “it is not unreasonable” to move towards an integration with other Catalan firms in the sector and is open to studying ways of collaboration.

Action Text & Photos: Trialworld / Expansion

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