Economy

Billionaire Wijnand Pon gets off at bicycle giant Accell

A report to the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets shows that Pon Holdings, Wijnand Pon’s company, reduced its interest in Accell Group for the third time in a short period of time on 30 December. The interest dropped to just under 5 percent.

Importance in bicycle giant

Pon Holdings built up an interest of more than 20 percent in the bicycle repair shop at the end of 2018, after it had made an (unsuccessful) attempt to take over the entire company a year earlier. At the time, Pon paid between 15 and 19 euros per share to build up the interest.

With a turnover of more than 1.1 billion euros in 2019 and 3,400 employees in 18 countries, Accell is one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in the world. The Heerenveen-based company is known for brands such as Sparta, Batavus and Koga.

Pon Holdings itself has its own bicycle division, with brands such as Gazelle and Cervélo. It also has an interest in Swapfiets.

Big sale

Last autumn it became clear that the major shareholder was planning something with his interest in Accell. At the time, Pon Holdings stated that they wanted to bring the stake below 20 percent. The insignificant reason was given that ‘the time was right for that.’

On 14 September, a report to stock exchange watchdog AFM showed that Pon had actually reduced its interest slightly, to 19.97 percent. Then nothing happened for more than two months. But since the end of November, the stake has been reduced rapidly and in three steps to the current level of below 5 percent.

Tens of millions of profit

Pon sold a total of more than 4 million Accell shares during this period, at prices of around 26 euros. In total, the sales brought in more than 100 million euros.

Given the price level of the shares at the time of purchase, Pon made a profit of at least 7 euros per share. This brings the total profit on the sold pieces to at least 28 million euros.

If Pon sells his remaining Accell shares at a comparable price, that profit will increase to at least 37 million euros. Because of the New Year, no one at Pon Holdings was available today for an explanation of the sale.

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