Folding bike maker Brompton has seen sales and profits soar after ramping up production to help met demand, much of it from overseas, and says a worldwide trend towards urbanisation will provide the basis for further growth.
Sales at the Brentford-based company rose 28 per cent to £27.2 million during the year to 31 March 20134, while pre-tax profits were up 42 per cent to £3.5 million.
Last month, Mayor of London Boris Johnson was pictured riding a Brompton while taking part in a mass bike ride in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
The brand’s success in the Far East helped the company achieve growth of 40 per cent in sales outside the UK and Europe, reports the Financial Times. In total, exports make up 80 per cent of turnover.
The company’s managing director, William Butler-Adams, commented: “Historically, our biggest problem has been not being able to make enough bikes to meet demand.
“So in the past three years we’ve spent all our energies improving our manufacturing process.”
He said the Brompton Dock hire scheme that the company has rolled out at 40 railway stations across the UK helped introduce potential customers to the brand.
“It’s an opportunity for people to try a Brompton. Because liking our product is very counter-intuitive,” he explained.
“If you look at a Brompton, you won’t be impressed at first. It looks dodgy, All folded and with its funny little wheels.”
The company, which produces 45,000 bicycles annually, put a limit on supply to South Korea during 2013 because it was worried that its bikes were becoming viewed as a fashion accessory there.
Butler-Adams said that increasing urbanisation plus investment in cycling by city authorities around the world would provide the foundation for growth, with the company viewing its products not as bicycles, but as “transport solutions.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.