Unibike takeover to support Neomouv’s expansion - Show Daily

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Unibike takeover to support Neomouv’s expansion

Neomouv wants to target new markets with more customized products and service, following its acquisition of Unibike in Portugal earlier this month.

Antonio Costa UNIBIKE
Portugal’s Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, racing Philippe Vaxelaire on a Neomouv bike at Unibike’s factory.

The French brand of e-bikes Neomouv [Hall 9/ B11] agreed to buy 80% of Unibike’s capital through its parent company. The stake was divested by Sergio Ramos, who built up the Portuguese e-bike assembly and painting specialist. 

“When you can manage painting and assembly, you can offer a better service to your customers,” explained Philippe Vaxelaire, Neomouv’s majority shareholder and chief executive, at the firm’s Eurobike stand yesterday.

Vaxelaire said that ownership of the Unibike facility would make it easier to adjust production for smaller runs and specific markets. The brand from La Flèche sold about 30,000 units last year, some 80% in the French market.

The buyer added that the takeover would make Neomouv more agile, and provide it with more security for its assembly and painting.

Conversely, Neomouv’s insights into the industry could serve other Unibike customers, Vaxelaire said. “We know how to manage the supply chain and we have a certain knowledge of e-bikes,” he said, with a hint of understatement. That includes a strong network of component suppliers.

However, both parties insist that Neomouv and Unibike will continue to be run separately, which will make it easier to properly support Unibike’s other customers.

An engineer, Vaxelaire moved into the bike business by acquiring the assets of Eazymouv, a failed French company, in 2003. This makes Neomouv one of the earliest players in the European e-bike market, Vaxelaire added.

Unibike has been Neomouv’s manufacturing partner for several years. After the complete rebuild and expansion of its factory in Soza, it has a capacity for assembly of about 250,000 e-bikes per year.

But its painting facilities are perhaps most distinctive, with a capacity of about 1,000 frames per week for wet painting, 1,800 frames per week for powder painting and 300 to 400 per week for carbon frame painting. Just as importantly for Vaxelaire, Unibike’s wet painting is water-based, without solvents. Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa, made a point of checking out the plant just last week.

The acquisition was supported by Neomouv’s shareholders. They include Sodero Gestion, a regional French investment firm. The shareholders all agreed to take part in a capital increase of €2.7 million. Several banks are supporting the project as well.

Vaxelaire said Neomouv stands out for its riding assistance and its price quality ratio. It will launch its own app in the next few weeks in partnership with Trackap, a French firm, for tracking and maintenance purposes.

Unibike was entirely rebuilt after a devastating fire in 2019. The entire plant’s surface roughly tripled to 15,000 square meters. Unibike will be profiled in tomorrow’s edition of the Show Daily.

It was in part due to the pressure of this reconstruction that Ramos decided to exit. He is at Eurobike and continues to advise Vaxelaire. His two daughters, Paula and Victoria, held on to their minority stake in Unibike.

Ramos said he received offers from several financial investors and larger companies but preferred to sell to his long-time partner.

Ramos Vaxelaire
Philippe Vaxelaire from Neomouv (in the driving seat) and Sergio Ramos from Unibike.

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