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Cycling Weekly
Cycling Weekly
Adam Becket

British bike company Planet X appears set to appoint administrators


British bike company Planet X appears set to go into administration, according to documents filed at Companies House and at the High Court this week.

A notice of intention to appoint an administrator was filed on 1 June at the High Court.

A Companies House First Gazette Notice, dated for 6 June 2023, says that Planet X will be struck off the register and dissolved not less than two months from this date, “unless cause is shown to the contrary”.

The Sheffield-founded company designs and makes its own bikes, such as the EC-130E, the Hurricane, and the London, but also sells other products on its website, including clothing and accessories.

It is also behind the Holdsworth range of bikes, the Helm and the Corsa, after taking over the marque in 2015. The brand sponsored the short-lived Holdsworth Pro Racing team in 2018.

According to a company report for the year ended 29 March 2022, the firm generated a turnover of nearly £17m in the financial year of 2021/22, down from £19.1m in 2020/21. Pre-tax profits for the period were £1.1m (FY 2021/21: £2.8m).

The report said: "Following strong sales growth during COVID-19, sales have 'normalised' in FY21-22... Demand has fallen at a lower rate in the UK compared to overseas. Last year the domestic market accounted for 87% of revenue, up from 80% in the previous year."

Brexit is cited as a reason for a decline in sales in the EU, while stock disruption and long lead times are also given as reasons for the fall in revenue.

The report read: "The business has deployed a strategy to increase stock holding to minimise the impact of any potential supply chain disruptions in the future."

In 2021, Planet X gained £3.225m funding facilities following a move to Santander UK. The company is set up as an Employee Owned Trust (EOT) after its 50 employees acquired the business from its founders.

At the time of the Santander deal, Trevor Parker, a director of Planet X, said: "The Santander team is excellent, their understanding of our Employee Owned Trust business model gives us great confidence and adds commercial value to our decision making. 

"By listening and understanding our concerns, they were able to present practical solutions to overcome them. With this funding we can react to the changing market, both in terms of Brexit and Covid-19, and our supply chain is now extended.”

It is the latest setback for the bike industry in the UK. Just last week, British bespoke bike manufacturer Spoon Customs announced that it will be suspending the production of its carbon bike, the Vars Disc, to manage a backlog caused by "the perfect storm" of supply chain issues in 2022.

Furthermore, 2Pure entered administration, as well Moore Large, a cycling distributor which dates back to 1947. Clothing companies Presca and Milltag have both both become extinct, while Velovixen was rescued from liquidation by fellow British kit brand Stolen Goat.

Planet X and its lawyers were contacted for comment on Monday morning.

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