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Brompton turnover up sharply in 2016/17 despite flat volumes

Folding bike firm says imminent e-bike launch should lead to more sales

​Folding bike manufacturer Brompton saw its turnover rise 15 per cent in its latest financial year despite the number of bikes it sold remaining static for the third year running – a situation it hopes will be rectified as its new electric-bike hits the market in the coming months.

According to accounts filed at Companies House, turnover in the 12 months ended 31 March 2017 – the first full year of operation of the company’s new factory in Greenford – rose 15 per cent to £32.7 million.

Meanwhile, pre-tax profit was £2.5 million, up from £0.2 million a year earlier, when there were non-recurring costs related to the new factory of £1.1 million, and the company said its new premises had already helped reduce costs through efficiency improvements.

Sales growth in the UK was particularly strong, with turnover up 18 per cent to £10.3 million, and international turnover rose too, with Spain, Singapore and China were among the countries to see strong growth.

However, the number of actual bicycles sold worldwide – 43,964 during in 2016/17 – was flat for the third year running following strong growth in the decade to 2014.

In response, Brompton said it planned a significant increase in spend on marketing and sales, but added that “most relevant is the move into electric bike sales,”

The company’s launch into the market is imminent and it says it has so far spent £1 million on the Brompton Electric project.

Brompton began accepting reservations for its electric bikes last summer for delivery early in 2018.

> Brompton launch their first e-bike

The West London-based company’s chief financial officer, Lorne Vary, told the Financial Times: “We benefited from the Cycle Superhighways growth, which meant that more Londoners had confidence to get on to bikes.

He added: “There was also more interest in other UK cities, such as Manchester, Cambridge and Birmingham.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 920 posts | 5 years ago

I agree with you Bill H.. The motor has to be in the  wheel hub and the brakes have to be rim brakes (because of the bike's size) so wheel rebuild will be a factor every two years or so . Even so it's not a huge expense considering the savings. 

By the way, did you cycle from the top of Hampstead to the City and back? That' s quite impressive on a Brompton if so   

Bill H | 118 posts | 5 years ago

How many miles per year would the owner of an electric Brompton expect to ride? 

That might sound like a daft question, but I commuted on a Brompton for six years (tiny flat, no storage) into the City and back from Hampstead and wore my way thru' two sets of rims. Wheel rebuilds are not cheap and small rims wear out proportionately faster.

There is a perception that Brompton owners only cover a mile or two at each end of a rail commute, but with electric assist I can imagine people putting in plenty more miles.

I worry that Brompton will disappoint a lot people who love the convenience of of the bike but will resent having to rebuild their wheels every couple of years.

On the brightside the falling £ should help their exports.

RobD | 1070 posts | 5 years ago

Aren't they a little bit stuck by the fact the bikes are quite well built and seem to last, you're less likely to get someone buying a new one just because their current one is a couple of years old than with road bikes etc.

ChrisB200SX | 1622 posts | 5 years ago

9kg isn't exactly lightweight, but they'd have to price it appropriately to fit into their product line.

What does one weigh with a the titanium bits, etc?

Velovoyeur | 141 posts | 5 years ago

More likely than not but it depends on demand and how much the customer is bothered and wants to spend. 

It's the usual engineering conundrum: cheap, strong or lightweight. Choose two from three. 

Canyon48 | 1158 posts | 5 years ago

From a purely engineering point of view, I'd be VERY interested to know if Brompton could make a sub 9kg folding bike that could actually hit the market...

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