TVS in talks to buy British motorcycle brand Norton1 min read . Updated: 08 Apr 2020, 11:39 PM IST
- The 122-year-old brand is in liquidation after it ran out of cash and failed to pay taxes
- The UK government plans to sell off Norton, its assets and product port-folio to raise funds
Homegrown two- and three-wheeler manufacturer TVS Motor Co. Ltd is in talks with iconic British motorcycle maker Norton Motorcycles (UK) Ltd to own the brand, as well as its assets and liabilities, two people aware of the development said on condition of anonymity.
The 122-year-old Norton Motorcycles ran out of cash in January and failed to pay taxes. Norton’s last owner, Stuart Garner, with business interests in real estate and hospitality, had acquired the legacy brand in 2008.
“Norton is in the liquidation stage currently and the administration in the UK plans to sell off the brand, its assets and its product portfolio to raise funds. The company has to pay its vendors, employees and creditors and also pay tax dues. So, there are a lot of liabilities on Norton at the moment," said one of the two persons cited above.
Consultants handling Norton’s case are in talks with several potential buyers, including TVS Motor, he said.
“It is perhaps a good time to bargain hard," said the person.
Advisory firm BDO Global, handling the liquidation of Norton, had put out a notice on the company’s Twitter handle on 30 January.
“The administrators are taking all steps to ensure that customers, staff and suppliers are supported, and want to minimize distress for all involved," BDO Global said.
In response to Mint’s query, TVS Motor said, “TVS Group does not comment on any market speculation."
An emailed query sent to Garner remained unanswered till press time.
TVS Motor’s interest in Norton’s assets indicates that it aims to expand its mid-capacity motorcycles portfolio in India and other developing markets, said the second person cited earlier.
The mid-capacity motorcycles, powered by 250cc-800cc engines, typically offer lighter handling and better fuel efficiency than the litre-class models.
The midsize motorcycle segment in India is dominated by Royal Enfield, with 350-650cc models on sale. Royal Enfield’s market share in this category was 96% in FY19, shows industry data.