On your bike: Raleigh pedals off to Holland

THE CHIEF executive of Raleigh Cycle is set for a multimillion pound windfall after agreeing to sell the classic British bike business to a Dutch rival.

Alan Finden-Crofts, a 42 per cent shareholder, will stay on at the 125-year-old company for six months after yesterday’s deal, which values Raleigh at about €76m (£62m) including debt. The other minority shareholders had included private equity firm Perseus and George Soros’ Quantum Fund.

Accell Group landed Raleigh – also known for the Chopper and Diamondback bikes – after beating bidding rivals which reportedly included Dutch industrial group Pon.

Heerenveen-based Accell, which is listed on NYSE Euronext, is expected to grow Raleigh, which sold 850,000 bikes last year and had revenues of around €200m.

Accell chief executive René Takens said: “Acquiring Raleigh adds a strong traditional and global brand with a rich heritage to our brand portfolio and with the Diamondback brand we strengthen our position in the mountain bike and BMX segment.”

Raleigh, founded in 1890 by Sir Frank Bowden, has operations and distribution companies in Britain, as well as in the US and Canada. The bikes sold in Britain are made in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia but the firm still employs about 430 people in its home city of Nottingham.

Finden-Crofts first bought into Raleigh in 1987, sold out in 1998 and then bought the business from the bondholders in October 2001 following the failure of parent Derby Cycles.

He took control when other bidders faded away in the post 9/11 deals slump, leaving Finden-Crofts, the stalking horse, as the only candidate.