1 Accell Group at a glance
Accell Group is leader in the field of innovative and green, consumer-centric mobility solutions for short and middle distances, active recreation and sports. Our main business is the production and sale of high-quality bicycles and bicycle parts and accessories. We are also increasingly active in the market for mobility solutions based on bicycle use.
We are market leader in Europe, one of the larger players in North America and the worldwide #1 in e-bikes. We have a portfolio of strong national and international (sports) brands, each with a leading position in their market and distinctive brand positioning. These brands all focus exclusively on the middle and higher segments of the bicycle market and together they enable us to provide a broad and varied range of products.
Well-known national brands include Batavus and Sparta in the Netherlands, Winora in Germany, Tunturi in Finland and Raleigh in Great Britain and North America. Examples of our well-known international high-end (sports) brands include Koga, Lapierre, Haibike, Ghost and Daimondback. XLC is our own international brand for bicycle parts and accessories.
Accell Group has around 3,000 employees across 18 countries. We have strong innovation and design centres with support facilities for the assembly and finishing of our bicycles in strategic locations. For the marketing and delivery of our products and services to consumers, we have an omni-channel strategy in close cooperation with our network of specialist retailers.
Our products are sold in more than 70 countries annually. In 2016, we sold more than 1.5 million bicycles and recorded turnover of more than € 1 billion. The Accell Group share is listed on the NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam and is included in the Small Cap Index.
Our product range consists of two primary product groups: bicycles and bicycle parts and accessories. The combination of the two product groups strengthens our client proposition and consumers’ cycling experience.
The nature of these product groups is so varied that we have adjusted our operating activities to take this into account. That applies to both product realisation and our market approach. While we handle everything from development and design, purchasing and assembly and distribution and sales for bicycles, we treat bicycle parts and accessories primarily as a trading activity.
- Multi-brand portfolio. We have deliberately chosen the strength of a multi-brand portfolio. There are major differences between countries in terms of popularity, preferences and taste. And each country has a clearly different perception of price, quality and service. By operating via multiple brands, we are able to operate close to our chosen markets. Portfolio management ensures the optimum market positioning per country or market segment. In individual countries, we often combine one or more national brands with our international (sport) brands. Our international brands target specific (high-end) niches, where consumer preferences and tastes are more universal.
- Product range. Consumers want choice. We provide that choice not only via our multi-brand portfolio, but also via a broad product range that targets the middle and higher segments of the market. That is where we can truly differentiate ourselves.
- Seasonal patterns. The bicycle industry is subject to strong seasonal patterns. In Europe and North America, the season runs from September until August. We launch our new bicycle collections at the start of each new season. The peak period for bicycle sales is generally between the end of February and the beginning of August. Seasonal patterns are slowly but surely levelling off somewhat, because our product mix is steadily shifting towards high-end (electric) bicycles, and this is a segment in which consumers’ decisions to buy are spread throughout the year.
- Development and design. We are constantly working on new designs and innovations for our bicycles. Product innovation is largely focused on efforts to increase comfort, safety and the connectivity-driven functionalities of our bicycles. We devote a great deal of attention to the continued development of electric and sports bikes. And we continuously monitor the consumer market to evaluate new products and make any adjustments that may be needed. We take this one step further for our high-end brands, where we develop bicycles that go beyond expectations. Accell Group has various ongoing development and innovation programmes, both for bicycles as a product and for bicycle use.
- Procurement and production. We use professional and high-quality suppliers in Europe and Asia for the procurement of materials and parts. Our own production is focused on assembly and spray painting. Around 60% of the bicycles we sell are finished at our own production plants. We have production hubs in the Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, France and Turkey and smaller local facilities for custom-made and high-end bicycles. The other 40% of the bicycles we sell are purchased as ready-made products. These are primarily less complex products, such as children’s bikes and basic models.
- Sales and distribution. The consumer is king and that is changing the role of specialist bicycle and sports retailers. It has also led to a shift in our sales and distribution towards an omni-channel approach. A comprehensive specialist retail network is and will remain crucial in markets that are important to us, such as the Netherlands and Germany. Exports of (high-end) brand bicycles are growing.
Parts and accessories
- Brands. Brand experience is not strong among consumers when it comes to bicycle parts and accessories, with the exception of the top segment. We operate our own A brand XLC in this market, complemented by (top) brands from third parties.
- Product range. A broad and comprehensive product range is crucial to serving consumers effectively. Our product range has approximately 75,000 different items in the long tail and this range covers all the key price points.
- Seasonal pattern. The seasonal pattern for bicycle parts and accessories is relatively flat, with the bulk of sales taking place between February and November.
- Development and design. Technological product innovation plays a modest role in the strategy for our own brand. Parts and accessories are adapted to meet the product and design innovations at our bicycle brands. A distinctive design only plays a role in very specific product categories in the accessories range, such as helmets, clothing and bags.
- Procurement. The products sold under our own XLC brand are always selected in-house. We frequently collaborate with suppliers we also use for other bicycle parts and accessories on this front. This enables us to safeguard the high quality requirements we set on all our products, including our bicycles.
- Distribution and sale. We have our own European sales organisation, complemented by local distributors to create a comprehensive network that can deliver quickly to our customers. We sell to consumers via bicycle and sports retailers and webshops. Most exports are to neighbouring countries. Since the nature of these products, especially accessories, lends itself well to online sales, our distribution and sales are shifting towards a range of sales channels.
(in euro, unless stated otherwise)
The Accell Group share has been listed on the official market of Euronext Amsterdam since 1998 and is included in the Amsterdam Small Cap Index (AScX). The listing contributes to disciplined and transparent operations and facilitates additional access to external capital for growth financing and consequently the realisation of our ambitions.
Each ordinary share entitles the holder to one vote. To protect the continuity of (the strategy of) Accell Group and its stakeholders, the Stichting Preferente Aandelen Accell Group has the option to acquire the number of cumulative preference shares B required to make the Stichting, once it has acquired said shares, the holder of one half, less one share, of the (increased) issued and paid-up capital. We refer you to Chapter 4, Supervision and Risk Management for more detailed information.
Share price movements and tradability
Accell Group strives for a stable dividend policy, aimed at paying out at least 40% of its net profit. Historically speaking, the dividend pay-out percentage has been around 50%. Accell Group proposes to pay an optional dividend of € 0.72 for the financial year 2016 (2015: € 0.72), in cash or shares. In the past four years (period 2012 through 2015), shareholders have received a combined cash and stock dividend with a value of around € 65 million.
An optional dividend enables Accell Group to realise a higher pay-out while maintaining a strong balance sheet for future acquisitions. This is an excellent fit with our strategy, which targets growth. In addition to a high dividend return for the shareholders, the optional divided also enables Accell Group to improve its solvency ratio. Our dividend return and the type of dividend we pay out are competitive compared to other listed companies. In the past four years (2012 – 2015), an average of around 45% of our shareholders opted for stock dividends.
Accell Group strives to provide its shareholders, potential shareholders and other financial stakeholders with all relevant strategic, financial and other material information, accurately, meticulously and in a timely fashion, to improve insight into the company, current developments and the market in which it operates.
Accell Group’s financial year is the same as the calendar year and runs from January through December. Accell Group publishes its full financial results annually and semi-annually. From 2017 onwards, Accell Group will only publish interim trading updates on the company’s financial and operational developments when there is reason to do so. Such publications, as well as other (non-financial) announcements, appointments and explanations will always be made in accordance with the prevailing regulations and the guidelines of Euronext Amsterdam and the Dutch Financial Markets Authority (AFM).
The company organises meetings with (major) shareholders, analysts and the media for the presentation and explanation of the annual and interim results. Prior to the publication of annual and interim results, Accell Group maintains closed periods of 30 days. During these closed periods, we have no meetings or conversations with (potential) shareholders, analysts or other financial stakeholders.
In the course of the year and outside the closed periods, members of the Board of Directors regularly have one-on-one meetings with (major) shareholders and interested institutional investors. It is worth noting that there is increasing awareness of and interest in Accell Group among foreign investors. The same is true for the interest from investors that focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility, themes Accell Group also focuses on via its products and strategy. You will find more information on the policy regarding bilateral contacts with investors on Accell Group’s website.
As in previous years, in 2016 Accell Group arranged meetings and company visits for (private) investors and shareholders at the various Accell Group companies. The company also arranged regular interviews with the (financial) media.
Diary of events 2017 - 2018
From 2017 onwards, Accell Group will only publish interim trading updates on the company’s financial and operational developments when there is reason to do so. The following publication dates and other relevant dates are on the calendar for 2017:
The Board of Directors comprises the following members:
R.J. (René) Takens (1954)
H.H. (Hielke) Sybesma (1967)
J.M. (Jeroen) Snijders Blok (1959)
J.J. (Jeroen) Both (1964)
In 2016, Accell Group passed the € 1 billion mark in terms of turnover and we recorded a profit of € 32 million. This means that over the past 10 years we have more than doubled our turnover and increased our profit by no less than 76%. A large proportion of this growth is thanks to the popularity of the electric bike. We are the market leader in e-bikes and this product has changed our company in many ways over the past few years. E-bikes now represent around 41% of our total group turnover and interest in our products is still increasing in a growing number of countries. And thanks to our continued development of these products, e-bikes are also becoming more and more popular among a growing range of age groups and for various applications. For instance, we saw considerable growth in demand for e-performance mountain bikes from our sports brands Haibike, Ghost and Lapierre in 2016. In addition to e-bikes and (high-end) mountain bikes, the extensive product ranges of Accell brands also include children’s bicycles, touring bikes, city bikes and racing bikes.
Continued technological innovation is the engine behind these excellent results. And this inspires us to continue to look for innovations that surprise consumers. On the innovation front, we also see a lot of opportunities in the development of the connected bike in the years ahead. We have already launched various (award-winning) models, but we are still at the very beginning of the development of the connected bike and all kinds of new functional possibilities.
In 2016, we also devoted considerable attention to our vision for the future and a review of our strategy, with input from various stakeholders and support from external consultants. The world of mobility will change considerably over the next few decades and that will also apply to the role of the bicycle. Growing traffic jams, gridlocked cities and increasing interest in a healthy living environment and lifestyle will increase demand for alternative mobility solutions. We are in a strong position to benefit from these developments, thanks to the fact that bicycles, and more specifically e-bikes, are a clean, green and healthy alternative for short and middle-distance mobility. We therefore want to claim that position in this changing world of mobility, with a clear choice for the bicycle as a product and cyclists as the users of our products.
In terms of our strategy, this means that we will be focusing increasingly on consumers and strengthening our ties with those consumers. To this end, we are developing a new omni-channel proposition in close cooperation with our retail network. In our supply chain in particular, we will increase our focus on cooperation in the chain in the coming years.
We have also made solid progress in numerous fronts in terms of the professionalization of our operations. One of our main priorities will be to restructure our supply chain in line with the omni-channel approach, largely aimed at increasing cooperation in the chain. Of course, this goes hand in hand with the realisation of efficiency benefits and sustainable operations (with the OECD directives as a benchmark). In Apeldoorn, our state-of-the-art Autostore distribution centre for parts and accessories is operating at full strength. And in Turkey, one of our largest production hubs, we are making considerable savings on storage and distribution costs and we are reducing the use of plastic in favour of cardboard. We are working hard to reduce our energy use across the board. At group level, we have a new supply chain organisation and we have also expanded our competencies on the marketing and human resources fronts. This is helping us to strengthen the integrated management we will need on every front to meet the challenges we will face in the years to come.
In the coming years, Accell Group will focus on the execution of our tightened strategy. This has created a natural moment for me to hand over the reins of this outstanding company after 18 years at the helm. I look back with both satisfaction and pride at what we have achieved together in those 18 years.
On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would like to thank our stakeholders for the trust they placed in us, and I would very much like to thank our people around the world. The passion we share for the products we develop, produce and market together has once again made an undeniable contribution to the success of our company. Thank you for all your hard work!
Chairman of the Board of Directors Accell Group