CHANDAN BASU MALLIK, Kolkata: In January this year, the 122-year-old British motorcycle brand Norton Motorcycles went into administration and its then CEO Stuart Garner put under investigation by the UK Pension Regulator over irregularities related to three pension schemes which invested into Norton Motorcycles. The British motorcycle brand faced a wind up order over a UK tax debt amounting to GBP 300,000 (around Rs 2.8cr).
Since, then there have rumours in the market over a possible takeover. Among names being mentioned are India’s TVS Group. TVS hasn’t made announcement yet regarding the issue or any indication whether any negotiation or formal bidding had taken place for Norton Motorcycles.
TVS responded media querries by saying: “This query is speculative in nature and as per our policy the TVS Group does not comment on any market speculations.”
TVS has a working arrangement with Germany’s BMW Motorrad and the two brands have co-developed models like BMW G 310 R, BMW G 310 GS and TVS Apache RR 310 for domestic and global markets.
Industry watchers suggest that an acquisition like this could help TVS to move up into the premium motorcycle market as it could marry the British brand’s technical expertise with its production capabilities.
Among considerations for TVS could include the fallout of a deal between Norton Motorcycles and Chinese partners before the company went into administration.
According to details published on a Chinese website, a strategic cooperation agreement was signed which could see Jinlang take over the manufacture of the engines and supply of parts to 961 owners worldwide. Also to be factored in is Norton’s previous ventures with Chinese company Zongshen, that was responsible for building the engine for the Atlas adventure bike, and also with its Indian partner Kinetic Motors.
It’s not clear whether Norton sold ç the production rights, meaning the latter could make engine for use in models under its own name in the future.
Norton’s traditional rivals has been Triumph and BSA. The rights of BSA have been acquired by an Indian automotive group a few years ago. Classic Legends, a subsidiary brand of the Mahindra Group partly bough the rights of the British brand in 2016 for Rs 28cr.