So travel entrepreneur and cycling enthusiast Graham Turner saw an opportunity bring together another fragmented industry, worth about $1 billion annually, with more than 1500 players and no dominant leaders.
Turner launched a joint venture with Flight Centre, The Pedal Group, in 2008. It operates two retail franchises, 99 Bikes and Bicycle Network. So far, $20 million has gone into the business and last year, it returned $2.5 million EBIT.
Turner argues independent bicycle retailers will struggle on their own.
“You need big brothers to help you do the things you don’t have the resources to do,” Turner told The Australian Financial Review.
With plans to grow 99 Bikes store numbers from 17 to 50 and the Bicycle Centre network from 26 to 100 stores by 2017, Bicycle Centre general manager Andrew Garnsworthy says the Group will explore the option of an IPO once it achieves “critical mass”.
Turner hasn’t ruled out the possibility that Flight Centre could acquire the Group at that time.
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