Aprilia rejects Ducati, Piaggio steps up
aprilia lost almost fifty million last year
by keith patti
Thursday, August 05, 2004

After Aprilia's management rejected Ducati's recent bid, and Ducati confirmed they would not change their offer, Italian scooter maker Piaggio has stepped up to the plate in order to acquire the company. Piaggio's offer is on the table until August 14.

Roberto Colaninno, Piaggio's current chairman, has stated his desire to hold all Italian motorcycle manufacturers under one roof. Colaninno became involved in the Italian motorcycle industry after successfully leading Olivetti in its $35 billion takeover of Telcom Italia. Ousted from Telcom Italia, Colaninno traded his golden parachute for IMMSI, the Italian property management firm that now holds over 30% of Piaggio. The Piaggio Group, including its brands Gilera, Vespa and Derbi, produced 430,000 vehicles in 2003.

Besides Ducati and Piaggio, offers for the ailing Aprilia have come from BRP-Rotax and Kymco. Kymco is from Taiwan and annually produces 480,000 vehicles. There is a rumor Kymco's bid is highest. BRP-Rotax is the Austrian engine manufacturing subsidiary of the recently re-branded Bombardier Recreational Products Company from Canada whose annual sales total $1.9 billion.

Aprilia annually produces 20,000 motorcycles and 170,000 scooters. It is having trouble managing its $264 million debt, and last year posted a loss of almost $50 million, events which have attracted the bids for acquisition.

With a market capitalization of just over $200 million, Ducati sold 38,000 motorcycles in 2003. It is the smallest company bidding for Aprilia. When news of its bid for Aprilia became public, Ducati's stock price in Milan dipped to an all-time low of 1.055 Euros ($1.27). Since Aprilia rejected Ducati's offer, the price has recovered slightly to close yesterday at 1.091 Euros ($1.32) per share.


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