- A Dutch holding company is creating a cycling empire
- Since its first deal a decade ago, Pon Holdings has been buying some of the world’s most iconic mountain bike brands
- And its latest agreement makes it the world’s biggest bicycle company by revenue
The Dutch love cycling and are canny businesspeople. No surprise, then, that a Dutch company can now claim to be the world’s largest bicycle producing organisation.
Pon Holdings started as a distributor of VW automotive products, MAN trucks and Continental tyres in the Netherlands. It has been acquiring cycling companies for the last ten years, building a portfolio of desirable brands.
Although Pon Holdings bought the Derby group, which owned the Focus frame brand, back in 2011, the acquisition that brought it global attention was Santa Cruz.
Buying all the best brands
The fiercely independent American mountain bike company had a reputation for advanced carbon-fibre frame technology and deep brand resonance with riders.
Pon Holdings bought Santa Cruz in 2015, and although many feared it would trigger a wave of corporatism, eroding the brand’s anchor values, Santa Cruz has thrived.
In its latest deal, Pon Holdings has bought the Dorel Sports bicycle business, including significant brands such as Cannondale, Schwinn, Mongoose, GT and Charge.
Building a huge bicycle company
In exchange for R12bn, Pon Holdings has now added an impressive collection of existing cycling brands in its portfolio.
Cannondale is a recognised leader in lightweight road frames and cross-country mountain bikes. The GT and Mongoose brands have distinguished histories in BMX and Schwinn still trades strongly on its legacy as America’s favourite student and urban cruiser bike brand.
Bolstered by the new acquisition, Pon Holdings projects an expected revenue of R43bn from its upsized bicycle business. This would make it the world’s largest bicycle company by sales revenue, ahead of Taiwan’s Giant industries.
The 'big four' have traditionally dominated the road and mountain bike markets: Cannondale, Giant, Trek and Specialized. But not anymore, as Pon Holdings appear to hold all the cycling business trump cards.