HOT NEWS – March 14, 2005
March 14, 2005
Filed under News
VIPER EYES REFINANCING WITH INVESTOR
Viper Motorcycle Company, New Hope, Minn., has pulled its application for an initial public stock (IPO) offering and today faces an uncertain future. Viper filed a request with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Feb. 1, 2005, asking that it be permitted to withdraw its IPO due to “market conditions.” The IPO was never offered to the public.
A company executive told Powersports Business that the offering had been withdrawn because it had received a more attractive offer from an unidentified company doing business in the auto and powersports markets.
In its IPO, Viper said it planned to raise $9 million by selling 1.8 million shares at $5 per share. Not all the proceeds would have been retained by the company, however. It said that it planned to use $2,271,000 of the proceeds to repay debts owed to shareholders and a former officer of the company.
Noting in its IPO filing that it may need additional financing, the company said it expected the proceeds of the offering to provide it with working capital for 12 months.
According to a Dec. 7, 2004, filing, the company said it had “not begun commercial scale production.” Viper has about 25 dealers.
Viper began shipping “limited quantities” of the Diablo model last June, but is still “ramping up” production, Terry Nesbitt, Viper’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, told Powersports Business. He said 50 units have been shipped while orders for approximately 200 more bikes are yet to be filled. The bikes basically were hand-built on the company’s production line, he said.
Viper reported total losses of $6.9 million for the period Nov. 18, 2002, through Sept. 30, 2004. The company’s debt recently has been exchanged for equity, Nesbitt said, leaving the company debt-free.
Nesbitt said the company’s pending re-financing is expected to be completed soon. The move, he said, will enable Viper to begin production of the Diablo for the upcoming motorcycle sales season.
JAPAN UPS PRODUCTION
Japan’s major motorcycle manufacturers produced 210,194 units during January 2005, up 50,841 units or 31.9% compared with the 159,353 units produced in January 2004, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
Of the 210,194 total units, Yamaha produced 98,409, Honda produced 48,134, Suzuki produced 41,525, and Kawasaki produced 22,092.
The four manufacturers exported a total of 156,982 units during the month, up 22,497 units or 16.7% compared with 134,485 units recorded for January 2004. Yamaha exported 71,108 units, Suzuki exported 33,942, Honda exported 29,435, and Kawasaki exported 22,497.
JAMA says the total value of motorcycles exported during January 2005 was $735.31 million, including $616.54 million for vehicles and $118.77 million for parts.
Exports to the U.S. were 46,930 units, of which 5,788 units were 50cc and under; 1,456 units were 51-125cc; 3,076 units were 126-250cc; and 36,610 units were over 250cc.
INVESTOR HIKES STAKE IN AIH
Xponential, Inc., Norcross, Ga., says it has acquired an additional 51,111 shares of American IronHorse Motorcycle Company, Inc. common stock to increase its holdings to 793,859 shares, or 15% of the common stock outstanding. Xponential also owns a warrant to purchase an additional 100,000 shares in the Texas-based motorcycle manufacturer at $15 per share.
Xponential and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Xponential Advisors, Inc. made the deals in a private transaction.
Dwayne A. Moyers is CEO and chairman of the board of Xponential and Xponential Advisors, Inc., and also serves as chairman of American IronHorse. Moyers and other directors and officers of Xponential, Inc. own or control, either directly or through affiliated entities, an additional 1,018,373 shares, or 19.23% of the outstanding common stock of AIH.
Xponential, Inc. trades on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol XPOI.
H-D ADDS FINANCIAL PROGRAM
Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) has launched a program to extend small business financing to Harley-Davidson dealers. The program, offered through Wachovia Small Business Capital (WSBC), offers all nationwide Harley-Davidson dealers an HDFS-endorsed commercial lending program, including real estate lending and refinancing, construction financing, and small business loans tailored specifically to the Harley-Davidson dealer.
Harley-Davidson Financial Services, a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson, Inc., provides wholesale and retail financing, insurance and credit card programs to Harley-Davidson dealers and riders in the U.S., Canada, and select European countries.
Wachovia Small Business Capital specializes in small business lending and has been a
leading Small Business Administration (SBA) lender since 1979. In 2004, WSBC was the third largest provider of SBA 7(a) loans in the country.
For details, contact Laurie Cole, HDFS, at 312/458-5555.
BMW, APRILIA DISCUSS NEW MODEL PRODUCTION
BMW said it is discussing a deal with Italy’s Aprilia.
The discussions focus on efforts in “development and production,” BMW said in a statement. Aprilia manufactured the BMW F650 from 1993 to 1999, before BMW Motorcycle relocated production to its Berlin plant. BMW says discussions do not center on the F series, but deal with models in segments untapped by both companies.
Aprilia has been a part of the Piaggio Group since last year, when a deal had Piaggio pick up the tab for Aprilia’s $65.5 million (Euro 50 million) capital increase and debt restructuring, among other things.
While neither Aprilia nor BMW have commented further on the ongoing project, areas under review may include the lightweight off-road motorcycle and ATV segments. Aprilia has a suitable powerplant in its twin-cylinder 45.V2 engine, a 77° 450cc V-twin revealed in September 2003.
BMW Motorcycle 2004 deliveries were down nearly 700 units to 92,266.
UTI ADDS BOARD MEMBERS
Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (UTI), a Phoenix, Ariz., provider of technical education training, added two new members to the company’s board of directors at its Feb. 16, 2005, annual shareholder meeting.
Kimberly J. McWaters, UTI’s president and CEO, was elected for a three-year term expiring in 2008, and Linda Srere, a marketing and advertising consultant, for a one-year term expiring in 2006. Additionally, shareholders re-elected Kevin P. Knight and Conrad A. Conrad for a term of three years expiring in 2008.
McWaters, 40, joined UTI in 1984, and has served in a variety of positions including vice president of marketing and vice president of sales and marketing. She was appointed president of UTI in 2000 and CEO on Oct. 1, 2003.
Srere, 49, is the former president of Young & Rubicam Advertising, a worldwide advertising network. She also served as vice chairman for Young & Rubicam Inc. and was president of Young & Rubicam’s New York office.
KAWASAKI LAUNCHES CUSTOM CRUISER TOUR
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. has launched its Custom Cruiser Tour (CCT), a traveling exhibit showcasing the different ways to modify and personalize the company’s Vulcan line of cruiser motorcycles.
Eventually traveling to nine major enthusiast events, the tour started at Daytona Bike Week and concludes in October at the Steel Pony Express in New Orleans.
Some of the bikes on display include showroom stock Vulcan cruisers and accessorized models featuring Authentic Kawasaki Fire & Steel accessories.
At select events, CCT will spotlight bikes that have been transformed into exotic creations by some of the most famous names in customizing, including Arlen Ness Motorcycles, Baron’s, Cobra Special Projects/Denny Berg, Corrupted Concepts and Damon’s Motorcycle Creations.
“Kawasaki’s approach to making great cruisers and accessories is becoming more aggressive each year, and CCT helps to reinforce our commitment to this segment of the market,” said Tom Orbe, vice president of sales and marketing at Kawasaki.
Kawasaki Custom Cruiser Tour
March 8-12, Daytona Bike Week, Daytona Beach, Fla.
April 6-10, Arizona Bike Week, Scottsdale, Ariz.
May 13-22, Myrtle Beach Bike Week, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
June 11-19, Laconia Motorcycle Rally, Laconia, N.H.
June 23-26, Thunder in the Valley, Johnstown, Pa.
Aug. 8-14, Sturgis, Sturgis, S.D.
Sept. 15-18, Delmarva Bike Week, Ocean City, Md.
Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, Bikes, Blues & BBQ Rally, Fayetteville, Ark.
Oct. 27-30, Steel Pony Express, New Orleans, La.
PATRIOT TO SELL THROUGH MAJOR RETAILERS
Patriot Motorcycles Corporation, Dana Point, Calif., plans to sell its products through an unidentified major chain retailer. The move involves the Yamoto by Patriot brand. Traditional authorized dealers will sell and service the full line of Yamoto by the Patriot dirt bikes ATVs while major chain retailer will sell only select products and models, the company said.
Patriot said it has received an initial order from the chain retailer for the Yamoto ATV110 and PY110 Dirt Bike which are non-exclusive to traditional Patriot Dealers. “These models are being used to assist with accelerated branding of the Patriot and Yamoto names. A dual-level dealership organization such as this greatly broadens exposure and speeds the building of brand awareness,” Said Dan Cwieka, president of Patriot.
“An increasing number of chains are now focused on bringing recreational vehicles to the U.S. market,” notes .Patriot Chairman and CEO, Michel Attias.
KYMCO ENTERS TAIWAN
Taiwan’s Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd., better known as Kymco, is preparing distribution to powersports dealers in Canada.
Beco Motors International, Caledon East, Ontario, says it expects to have Kymco scooters, motorcycles and ATVs available for delivery by April.
Initial offerings are to include the 50cc ZX50 and Super 9 scooters, the 150cc Bet & Win scooter, the 250cc Bet & Win scooter, the 250cc Venox motorcycle, and the 250cc Mongoose sport ATV.
Beco is evaluating new dealer candidates. Canadian retailers interested in the Kymco brand should contact the distributor by e-mail: email@example.com; FAX: 905/584-9850; or by mail: Beco Motors, 14531 Bramalea Rd., Caledon East, Ontario L0N 1E0
Kymco sells product in 63 countries. In the U.S., Kymco scooters, motorcycles and ATVs are distributed by Kymco USA, Inman, S.C.
AMA SPORTS TAPS TRACK MANAGER
AMA Sports, the amateur and pro-am competition division of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), has named Ken Saillant as track racing manager, effective March 21, 2005.
Saillant will oversee operations of flat-track, Supermoto, roadracing, ice racing and speedway disciplines. He’ll report to AMA Sports Senior Director Douglas Neubauer.
A racer himself in the 1980s, Saillant became race director for the AMA Sports Dirt Track Grand Championships in 2000.