McLaren Applied’s Lavoie buys bankrupt e-bike maker VanMoof
The insolvent Dutch e-bike manufacturer VanMoof is getting a new owner. Lavoie, the e-scooter business of engineering firm McLaren Applied, agreed to take over the premium e-bike maker. Lavoie plans to expand VanMoof’s business.
Lavoie and its parent company did not disclose the terms of the purchase. Still, McLaren Applied Chairman Nick Fry told Reuters that including the capital needed to stabilize VanMoof, there would be an investment of “tens of millions” of pounds “in the short term.”
“This is a huge opportunity for us as this is a company with a brilliant product,” Fry said. “But this is not going to be a walk in the park, this also is a company that got itself into a difficult financial situation.”
Indeed, when reports told of financial trouble at Van Moof in July, the company was already in debt and had posted losses of about €78 million each of the last two years.
The company was selling e-bikes at a loss due to quality issues resulting in costly warranty repairs.
VanMoof started as a small manufacturer of high-quality e-bikes but focused on high volumes over time while maintaining warranty promises for marketing reasons. Promises it could not keep culminating in insolvency in July 2023.
Following the acquisition, Fry said McLaren Applied would retain VanMoof’s departmental managers and “engage and retain or rehire some of the great people” the e-bike maker employed.
But he also announced redundancies, and under new management, VanMoof will abandon its in-house retail store model, instead using third-party retailers to sell and service bikes.
According to Lavoie’s announcement, the acquisition feeds into its global growth strategy “to redefine premium emobility and become “leaders in manufacturing premium e-mobility products that are redefining the category with each ride,” so Fry. The company expects “exciting synergy” between the scooter and the e-bike business while approaching micromobility through “serious automotive technology,” Lavoie said.
The court-appointed trustees for VanMoof overseeing the bankruptcy process confirmed the sale and said they were pleased with the outcome.