Bicycle wheel manufacturer Mavic has been placed in receivership, according to a report in the Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Thursday. The French unions have demanded accountability from former parent company Salomon and its main shareholder Amer Sports after the company was sold in 2018.
"The Grenoble commercial court declared us in receivership on May 2, with an observation period of six months," Gérard Meunier, secretary of the Social and Economic Committee (CSE), told AFP.
Mavic employs 250 people worldwide, including 200 in France. The brand was created in 1889, and has been a supplier of the Tour de France for 40 years – its iconic yellow cars and motorbikes providing neutral service. In 2017, the company extended its contract with ASO through 2022.
Former parent company Salomon sold Mavic last year to Californian investment fund Regent LP, according to a report in a France3 regional news report. Prior to the sale, Amer Sports, a Finnish group that is the main shareholder of Salomon, removed Mavic from its 2018 accounts. Amer Sport was then bought by a Chinese group in March 2019.
"Amer Sports wanted to sell us, and we were told that Regent LP wanted to buy us. Some Regent people came to Annecy in July 2019 to tell us that we were a sleeping gem, and that they believed in Mavic. And since then, nothing – no investment and no answer," Meunier said.
France 3 reported that Mavic has been in financial difficulty and placed in conciliation procedure in December. A court administrator was later appointed to find out the details of the exchange between Regent LP and Amer Sport.
"A few days ago, staff representatives learned that, contrary to what had been publicly announced, Salomon had not sold their business to Regent LP but to a company called M Sports, based in Delaware (USA), with no capital link with Regent."
The court administrator is now looking into the conditions under which Salomon and the Amer Sports group sold Mavic, along with details of M Sports and how it acquired Mavic.
"Employees have been worried for a long time; for years we’ve been looking for investment. What we need is a serious buyer who wants to stay in the Annecy basin," Meunier said.