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Liberty puts bike growth in the frame with Scottish acquisition
Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House Group has taken another step towards its ambition to rejuvenate bicycle manufacturing in the UK by acquiring Scottish-based cycle firm, Shand Cycles UK, to add to its existing Trillion operation in the Midlands.
Global metals and industrials business Liberty, which completed the deal this weekend, intends to expand Shand’s manufacturing capacity at Livingston, West Lothian, while also using the engineering expertise of its Midlands vehicle technology teams to support both Shand and Trillion to grow by developing innovative products.
Shand which was established in 2003 is an independent manufacturer fabricating hand-built custom and production bikes.
Liberty, part of the GFG Alliance, intends that Shand’s range of road and adventure touring bikes will complement Trillion’s offering of high-specification mountain bikes. Each will retain its brand identity within the newly-created Liberty Cycles division.
Bringing significant cycle manufacturing back to the UK has been a long-held ambition of entrepreneur Sanjeev Gupta, who began his working life selling bicycles on behalf of his father’s Indian manufacturing firm.
He said: “We’re very excited to welcome Shand into the Liberty family of companies. We recognise the skill and quality they bring to bike production and feel they will work very well with the Trillion team and engineers and designers in our vehicle technologies division at Leamington Spa. Liberty is developing a solid base upon which to build a significant bike manufacturing business, offering high quality and attractive machines to all parts of the market.”
“We’re also pleased to expand further our investment in the Scottish economy where we already have major energy generation and metal manufacturing operations. Job numbers are small at present but we’re investing for growth and there will be many more, further down the line,” he added.
The development of new manufacturing businesses, linked to its metal processing and engineering enterprises, is an important part of Liberty’s strategy to integrate its range of activities in order to make them more viable and sustainable.
Steven Shand, founder of Shand Cycles, who will continue to lead the company, said: “This is an exciting new phase in the development of the business. Together as part of the Liberty Group I believe Trillion and ourselves can do some ground-breaking things in the cycle market. The link up also allows us to develop some very valuable extra manufacturing capacity.”
Russell Cashmore, product & customer service manager of Trillion said: “We have an awful lot of engineering expertise at our finger tips through being part of Liberty Vehicle Technologies who, among other things, supply braking systems and mechatronics to Formula 1. Combining that with the knowledge of the team at Shand is a great prospect. We’re keen to use this combination to do something unique in the market. Our overall goal is to help further encourage the revival of frame production in this country.”
The expansion of bike manufacture within the Liberty Group also represents the revival of part of the Group’s heritage. Liberty owns Accles & Pollock in Oldbury, West Midlands that began making steel tubes for bicycle frames over 100 years ago. Rattrays of Glasgow who were once a major volume bicycle producer, used A&P tubing in their iconic ‘Flying Scot’ models back in the middle of the 20th century.