Dorel pumps up bike business with acquisition and racing sponsorship | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Dorel pumps up bike business with acquisition and racing sponsorship

This product image courtesy of Dorel shows a safety gate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Dorel Juvenile Group
September 20, 2012 - 11:35 AM

MONTREAL - Dorel Industries' bicycle group is hoping to make further inroads in the competitive racing business by acquiring a Quebec-based company's personalized bike fitting system and becoming title sponsor of a professional racing team.

The Montreal-based company has bought a computerized system developed by Laval's Guru Cycles and launched the Guru Experience that will allow retailers to help find bikes best suited for their customers.

The automated units use a software program to identify the ideal bike based upon each rider's body flexibility and type, personal goals, ability level and riding style.

Each 25-30 minute assessment then suggests the best bicycle sold at that retailer to meet the customer's profile and goals.

The new offering is based on Guru's Dynamic Fit Unit.

Dorel chief financial officer Jeffrey Schwartz told a CIBC investor conference Thursday that each dealer that uses the system will pay a fee to use the software on the company's own computer system.

The goal is to drive additional sales among serious biking enthusiasts, who are willing to spend thousands of dollars on premium bikes like its Cannondale brand.

Dorel (TSX:DII.B) also said Thursday it is launching a new pro-cycling team with Brixia Sport in January. The Cannondale Pro Cycling Team will include several well-known racers such as the winner of the green jersey at the 2012 Tour de France.

It began in 2007 as technical sponsor for the Liquigas Pro Cycling Team before becoming co-sponsor in 2010.

Schwartz said becoming title sponsor will help further boost sales, especially in Europe, where bike racing is very popular and customers are heavily influenced by star riders. Races are also attracting more interest in North America.

The maker of Cannondale, GT, Schwinn and Mongoose bikes said sales of its most expensive brands have grown by more than 20 per cent annually.

Despite tough economic conditions, its mass merchant bike business has also grown, although more modestly.

The manufacturer of juvenile products such as car seats and strollers hopes to further expand this large part of its business by further expanding through acquisitions in central and South America, along with Eastern Europe.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Dorel's shares gained 35 cents at $33.55 in morning trading.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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