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1.9 Message from the CEO

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!  

René Takens
Chairman of the Board of Directors Accell Group