MV Agusta future secure

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MV Agusta have had a turbulent history that’s included five changes in ownership over the last 26 years. The last big buyout came in 2010 when the Castiglioni family bought MV back from a troubled Harley-Davidson.

But, despite major investment from Mercedes-AMG in October 2014, which saw the German firm acquire 25% of the business, in March 2016 MV filed for protection from creditors with alleged debts of €40 million. Parts and warranty support became sporadic, factory insiders talked of production halting and staff being sent home.

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Then, in October 2016 MV announced fresh backing from the Black Ocean Group – an investment firm that mostly focuses on emerging tech businesses and the deal was sealed last month.

Speaking exclusively to MCN, MV boss Giovanni Castiglioni, said: “Black Ocean have a passion for motorsports and a passion for the MV Agusta brand. It goes beyond pure business. The deal is an equity injection, which serves to increase our working capital and places MV in financial stability.” In short, this means MV have enough cash in the bank to satisfy parts suppliers, and get production rolling in earnest again.

Past, present & future

Customers have expressed frustration during recent years, especially when it comes to the delivery of new bikes. Castiglioni admits this has been a problem: “Yes from 2010 to 2015, MV had some troubles and we entered into a contingent liquidity, which meant that we didn’t have enough bikes to fulfil all the requests. In 2016 we still produced a little less than our retail demand, but this was a deliberate decision. We are back to delivering the majority of the requests, although we do have a high backorder so we are running at full capacity. While we are not producing as many bikes as people request, this is nothing to do with our finances.”

With so much investment, what went wrong? Castiglioni blames rapid expansion. “We went from 2000 units in 2010, to almost 9000 in 2015 and we don’t want to repeat what happened. We plan to increase over the next five years but not too much.” The range had swollen to too many model variants as MV tried to broaden their customer base and boost volume, ignoring what MV stands for – exclusivity.

But an MV Agusta dealer also told us this week that their dealings with MV have been improving over the last six months: “Warranty and parts support has been good. The middle of last year was the worst time, although supply never actually stopped. It’s not like dealing with a Japanese firm – MV are not as straightforward and easy.

“Bike supply will always be a little slow, but that’s part of MV. I’ve got people who have been waiting for up to 12 months, especially for F3RCs. But we are always up-front about delivery, and people don’t mind waiting.”

Three new models

Castiglioni confirmed there are three models in development. “In the last five years we invested €90 million on new products, and that allowed us to increase to a 20-model range,” he said.

“We have narrowed the range to eight but we are investing in new models. For 2017 we will present one new bike and for 2018 we are working on two.” While Castiglioni wouldn’t confirm the models, the range-topping F4 was last updated in 2013, is not Euro4 compliant, and seems likely to be the first priority. The 800cc F3 is also of similar vintage, making it likely as the second model. The third is less easy to guess at, but the Brutale is crucial to MV’s stability, and with a new F4, it’s logical that we’d get a new Brutale to match. Or how about an £18,000 scrambler?

 

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.