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Planet X refuses to comment on administration rumours

Amid rumours of redundancies and financial troubles, a Planet X director applied for a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator on 1st June

Planet X has declined to comment as documents filed at Companies House, the register of UK companies, show that the South Yorkshire cycling retailer and bicycle manufacturer could be dissolved unless overdue accounts are filed.

A report from The Business Desk published this morning suggests that the Rotherham-based business "filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator." An open court case also suggests that Richard Mostyn-Jones, a Planet X director, applied for a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator on 1st June. 

In the past weeks, road.cc has heard from a source who claimed that 13 people had been made redundant in May "as [Planet X] seek to stem heavy losses", and there have also been rumours of administration.

We contacted Planet X numerous times for official comment on the matter and this morning were told "at this time they do not wish to comment on any of the above".

As per Companies House, dated 6 June, a First Gazette Notice has been filed, stating: "The Registrar of Companies gives notice that, unless cause is shown to the contrary, the Company will be struck off the register and dissolved not less than 2 months from the date shown above.

"Upon the Company's dissolution, all property and rights vested in, or held in trust for, the Company are deemed to be bona vacantia, and will belong to the Crown."

Planet X designs and sells its own bikes, as well as cycling clothing and equipment, on its website where it is currently advertising sales and deals with up to 80 per cent off bikes and kit, ending midnight tonight.

Planet X sales

One flash sale has a Holdsworth Corsa Disc Team Edition frameset reduced to £399.99, while other bikes and kit have heavy discounts. Two pairs of Planet X Pro-Line 365X bib shorts can be picked up for the price of one, at £29.99.

Planet X became an employee-owned company in 2019. Founder Dave Loughran said at the time that he had "been 'the man' for too long" and that he has seen "the industry grow and change and transform into something barely recognisable from the early years".

The company's three directors were paid dividends of £712,000 and it was acquired by the 50 employees. Two years later, in 2021, Planet X received £3.225m funding facilities following a move to Santander UK.

"The Santander team is excellent, their understanding of our Employee Owned Trust business model gives us great confidence and adds commercial value to our decision making," Trevor Parker, a Planet X director, said.

"By listening and understanding our concerns, they were able to present practical solutions to overcome them. With this funding we can react to the changing market, both in terms of Brexit and Covid-19, and our supply chain is now extended."

The first half of 2023 has been fraught with continued troubles for the bike industry, the British scene losing two major distributors, first with Moore Large in March and last month Livingston-based 2pure.

ibis hakka mx7

2pure had announced that it was restructuring to focus solely on the cycling industry, following what it described as a "highly volatile" 2022 caused by macro-economic events in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Despite adding eco-cleaning products company Kingud and tubeless tyre sealant manufacturer MilKit to its portfolio in recent months, dark clouds continued to hang over the company, with managing director George Bowie leaving his position in May.

Then a short time later, 2pure announced through an update at Companies House that an administrator had been appointed, following the route of competitor Moore Large months earlier.

The Derby-based UK distributor for brands such as Tern Bicycles, Lake, Forme, ETC, Emmelle and MeThree entered liquidation in March, sparking stock being auctioned online at heavily discounted prices.

Moore Large auction (John Pye)

The news came less than a year since the distributor's board directors bought the business from the Moore family.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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24 comments

Avatar
Jez Ash | 10 months ago
1 like

Companies House now says "Compulsory strike-off action has been discontinued
This document is being processed and will be available in 10 days"

Not really sure what that means tbh

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brooksby replied to Jez Ash | 10 months ago
0 likes

Jez Ash wrote:

Companies House now says "Compulsory strike-off action has been discontinued
This document is being processed and will be available in 10 days"

Not really sure what that means tbh

Companies House would write to the company saying, "Your confirmation statement is now due", then they write and say, "It's overdue", then they say, "Seriously, we mean it!", then they say, "That's it - we'll strike you off as you obviously don't need your company any more".

At that final point, the company has filed the overdue confirmation statement, so Companies House discontinues the striking-off action and everything is hunky dory (until next March...).

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mrmusette | 10 months ago
0 likes

I'm a big fan of Planet X, and hope they don't go under... that being said, after these rumours, I'm now extra relieved I managed to return and get a refund for my Holdsworth Corsa that developed a hairline crack in the top tube after 1 month.

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Colin McC | 10 months ago
2 likes

Went (by bike!) to their site on the east side of Rotherham, yesterday, to pick up a 'click and collect' order. (It saves the delivery charges: worthwhile especially for a smaller order; and I'm in Sheffield.) They seem to be trading normally, although I always use a credit card for extra security of payment/refund. Of course administrators often try to trade out of trouble or sell on as a going concern. Let's hope for the employee 'owners' that they can find an effective way forward and a decent set of product lines; and don't become another supply-chain-issue and Brexit failure.

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Fignon's ghost | 10 months ago
1 like

Sad news. I love my ultralight. Sits well amongst a huge variety of component systems. Sooo versatile.
Looks good in original carbon.
Is this a Brexit failure?

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KnightBiker replied to Fignon's ghost | 10 months ago
3 likes

At least from my part, they were my AlieXpress before that was a thing, and I would have kept buying at least some of their gear. But the increased taxes put on their bikes made the competitive prices void, sadly. They were reasonably popular for track bikes in Amsterdam too. Brexit ruined Planet X for me.

I have a track bike, an aero EC130 bike with a Welsh dragon paint scheme, which still turns heads, and a titanium gravel bike from planetX: all great value. 

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Jogle | 10 months ago
0 likes

Cycling Weekly has a link to this page https://caseboard.io/cases/7c9cda66-5c6e-42bc-ac84-06b024a9216f which would support the potentially going into administration rumours

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maxdabrit | 10 months ago
1 like

I too bought PlanetX frames and built them to my own spec. The EC130E and Holdsworth Corsa are superb frames that do exactly what they were designed for at a remarkable price. 

I went this route after my $4,500 Pinarello Prince of Spain frame developed hairline cracks in 3 places. The US importer of Pinarello frames verbally acknowledged the frame lay up was a problem , yet offered me only a minor discount ($500) on a new frame as it was over 2 years old.

I do appreciate that main stream brands such as Trek and Cannondale back there frames almost indefinitely unlike the boutique companies. Im just quirky and prefer to have something 'different'. Sometimes it works out for me and occasionally not.

I will miss you PlanetX.

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muhasib | 10 months ago
1 like

Having bought from them in the past and the order delivered being part incorrect (wrong size tyres) it did put me off but the major issue is the MFI price model where you never quite know if what you buy will be half the price or twice the price next month. I feel sorry for the workers though having been through similar myself.

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Legin | 10 months ago
10 likes

If you don't understand that Brexit is the major contributor to the challenges faced by previously viable  businesses today, then you haven't been paying attention.

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to Legin | 10 months ago
5 likes

'With this funding we can react to the changing market, both in terms of Brexit and Covid-19, '
i wonder if there are any companies in the Unicorn Kingdom that have actually come out and testified that brexit has helped them to increase their business in the EU and indeed worldwide.  There must be 1 or 2? Perhaps someone in finance / hedge funds / off shore / tax avaiodance / currency 'shorting' has done well out of brexit? But in any other trade or business has anyone benefitted? 

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JL77 replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 10 months ago
2 likes

I am a EU citizen. Before Brexit I loved to dive into the assortment of UK bike manufacturers, especially the small ones. Now it's not interesting anymore. Import taxes and hassle...

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mark1a | 10 months ago
4 likes

It would be interesting to know the figures involved in the EOT (Employee Ownership Trust). They're often pitched to the staff as "the John Lewis model", in reality, it's a way for the owner(s) to get their equity out of the company without having to pay CGT (Capital Gains Tax) or open the books to third-party buyers. The company is then saddled with the debt to pay the original shareholders for some years afterwards, burning up cash that would otherwise be used for growth and/or going through leaner times. 

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Geoff Ingram | 10 months ago
5 likes

I still have a dozen or so of their bikes, usually bought as framesets, and built up over a decade with whatever finishing kit was on offer, as befits my cheap and cheerful outlook, for a lot less than the price of a couple of high end Specializeds or Treks, giving me a wide range of mountain, gravel, endurance, "racing", commuter options, and was always well satisfied. Of course, I have bought precisely nothing since Brexit was got done (being in Spain). Hope things work out for tham. 

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Geoff Ingram replied to Geoff Ingram | 10 months ago
0 likes

Bought a fair amount of clothes, too. Again, does the job, what more do you really need?

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brooksby | 10 months ago
1 like

A notice of compulsory striking off by the Registrar but with nothing overdue for filing (accounts/confirmation statements) and with no 'supporting documents' relating to winding-up, administration, etc, is actually pretty unusual.

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Jogle replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

A notice of compulsory striking off by the Registrar but with nothing overdue for filing (accounts/confirmation statements) and with no 'supporting documents' relating to winding-up, administration, etc, is actually pretty unusual.

The confirmation statement was only filed on Friday, so I'm guessing that that was what caused Companies House's actions.

Strangely, if you look up Planet X ETO Trustees Ltd (who own Planet X Ltd), you'll see that the same thing happened there too. Confirmation Statement was late and Companies House started striking off (that was also resolved after the confirmation statement was filed).

Avatar
brooksby replied to Jogle | 10 months ago
0 likes

Jogle wrote:
brooksby wrote:

A notice of compulsory striking off by the Registrar but with nothing overdue for filing (accounts/confirmation statements) and with no 'supporting documents' relating to winding-up, administration, etc, is actually pretty unusual.

The confirmation statement was only filed on Friday, so I'm guessing that that was what caused Companies House's actions. Strangely, if you look up Planet X ETO Trustees Ltd (who own Planet X Ltd), you'll see that the same thing happened there too. Confirmation Statement was late and Companies House started striking off (that was also resolved after the confirmation statement was filed).

I missed that!  Being three months overdue on filing a confirmation statement and then filing it once they get the first gazette notice...  Not very organised, but I imagine that a notice of discontinuation of striking-off action will appear very shortly.

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Secret_squirrel | 10 months ago
1 like

I cant help feeling they screwed up their product strategy somewhere along the line - too many products with too little differentiation.  14 different MTB's none of which is 27.5 option or a full susser.  4 different Ti versions.

Need a massively smaller model line up going for bulk at cheaper prices.

Take a look at Sonder for what a focused Product mix looks like.

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kil0ran | 10 months ago
1 like

Those bibs have been on offer at that price for months. Cracking value, very comfy if a little hot for summer riding.
Their problem is that the bikes no longer stand out and aren't great value alongside deep discounting by the likes of Trek and Giant.

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Off the back | 10 months ago
2 likes

10 years ago, they were producing some decent bikes that offered good vfm over the more established premium brands. But they are a pale shadow, and its unfortunate to say, but I see very little quality looking bikes on their webpages. They look dated and uninspiring compared to other brands. With so many new (and quality used) bikes available where is the incentive to buy a Planet X bike? 

I hope they survive, get some investment and start making a product that can sell but its not looking good. 

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bendertherobot replied to Off the back | 10 months ago
3 likes

Off the back wrote:

10 years ago, they were producing some decent bikes that offered good vfm over the more established premium brands. But they are a pale shadow, and its unfortunate to say, but I see very little quality looking bikes on their webpages. They look dated and uninspiring compared to other brands. With so many new (and quality used) bikes available where is the incentive to buy a Planet X bike? 

I hope they survive, get some investment and start making a product that can sell but its not looking good. 

My Ti Tempest is one of the best bikes I've ever owned. Ditto the Roadrunner I also had (and should have kept)

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Off the back replied to bendertherobot | 10 months ago
0 likes

Not disputing the ride quality of any of their bikes. But, titanium especially is a niche concept. They won't survive making a few titanium sales. It's a very competitive market. Probably more now than ever and the British bike industry isn't in finest of health to begin with. Supply issues and Brexit etc have really had a bad effect on all bike brands in the UK. It's been well documented on this site. 

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TheBillder | 10 months ago
8 likes

I really hope they can survive - they certainly have a market niche that few others even dip a toe into. I've bought a few things at bargain prices from them and always been happy with them. Never luxury items but does what it says on the tin stuff.

Not to mention that peoples' jobs are at risk.

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