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Eddy Merckx Cycles sold more bikes but made less money in 2016

Eddy Merckx welder
Joseph Delves
28 Mar 2017

Bike maker blames 25% slump in the road bike market for decline in profits

Eddy Merckx Cycles posted a multi-million euro loss during 2016, in a result the company is blaming on a significant downturn in the market for high-end road bikes. Bart Van Muylder chairman of the board of Eddy Merckx Cycles and CEO of parent company Diepensteyn told Bike Europe, 'The market for road race bikes dropped by 25% last year and as specialist in this category we were hit unexpectedly hard.

'We were not able to compensate our decline in turnover in other bike categories as we are one hundred percent dedicated to road race.'

'Our turnover was stable although we anticipated on a growth in sales. Still we are proud we could double our sales over the past two years and we still believe in the future of Eddy Merckx Cycles,' he added.

Widely regarded as the greatest cyclist of all time, the eponymous brand was founded by the notoriously exacting Belgian cycling superstar Eddy Merckx in 1980, two years after he retired from racing.

Initially the marque also served as a place of work for many of his former Molteni teammates, including Edouard Janssens, Jos Huysmans and team manager Bob Lelangue.

Having started out making steel bikes under the tutelage of Italian builder Ugo De Rosa, recently Eddy Merckx Cycles has specialised in mid-to-higher end racing bikes made of carbon fibre.

Its tightly focused offering is partly the reason the company found it harder to absorb the declining sales in that segment.

Despite doubling sales and shifting nearly 9 million euros' worth of bikes last year, the company is currently running on a deficit of 17 million euros. Part of this debt apparently dates back to debts incurred during the brand’s sponsorship of the Quick-Step team which ended in 2012.

However with Merckx having sold his stake in the business back in 2014, the drop in profits is unlikely to affect the Cannibal's retirement fund.

In recent years he’s been keeping himself busy riding bikes and helping run the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman on behalf of Tour de France organisers Amaury Sport Organisation.

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