Why Would Ski-Doo Parent Company Buy Gearbox Corporation

This image is a Pinion gearbox, snipped from a video on the company’s website.

The aggressive parent company of Ski-Doo has announced yet another acquisition, and this one could place them squarely in the electric bicycle market and beyond with new-to-them technology.

BRP announced this morning (August 5) the purchase of the Pinion corporation, which is a German company best known for creating and selling mechanical gearboxes for bicycles – both regular bikes and electric bikes.

The headline on the press release says this will help BRP with the development of “Urban Mobility Solutions,” which had us cracking off a big yawn on a warm Friday morning. We (and most of our readers) typically aren’t big urban people. But reading into it a little bit more, three thoughts cropped up:

  1. The electric bicycle segment is exploding and is actually worth watching by those who watch powersports companies. For instance, Yamaha has launched its own line of electric bikes, and a lot of powersports dealerships are either starting to carry electric bikes or are considering it, according to our sister trade publication Powersports Business.
  2. BRP has pledged broadly that it will have electric-powered products in the all of the markets that it serves within about five years – yes, including snowmobiles. To gear up for that (OK, pun intended) they have started to acquire all sorts of technology companies.
  3. Then, looking at the Pinion website, it looks like they develop some pretty robust systems – they aren’t just building a gearset for your kid’s Huffy, Dynacraft or Schwinn.

So, in the big picture of things, will anything from this Pinion company ever trickle into the sort of products we use? Only time will tell. Here’s the full press release:

BRP ACQUIRES MAJORITY STAKE IN GERMAN-BASED PINION TO SPUR THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW URBAN MOBILITY SOLUTIONS

Valcourt, Quebec, August 5, 2022  BRP Inc. (TSX:DOO; NASDAQ:DOOO) is pleased to announce the acquisition of an 80% stake in Pinion GmbH, a pioneer in gearbox technology based in Denkendorf, Germany. Driven by a passion to shape sustainable mobility, Pinion’s team of over 60 full-time employees designs, develops, assembles, and sells mechanical gearboxes for traditional and electric bicycles. The company’s leading gearboxes are modeled after automobile transmission technology and offer unique cycling dynamics and unparalleled shifting performance.

“Beyond our existing powersports and marine products, we are expanding our addressable market and entering untapped categories such as urban mobility and services,” said José Boisjoli, President and CEO of BRP. “This acquisition is strategic for us as it enables BRP to leverage Pinon’s unique, state-of-the-art technology in order to spur the development of new electric human assisted products. We are pleased to welcome the Pinion team.”

Pinion was founded in 2008 by Christoph Lermen and Michael Schmitz, two automotive engineers. Both Co-Founders and Managing Directors will remain shareholders of Pinion, as will Managing Director and shareholder Thomas Raith. All three leaders will continue to shape the company’s path to success and play a key role in its strategic direction alongside Pinion’s highly skilled employees. Offices will be maintained in Germany.

Christoph Lermen, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Pinion GmbH, added: “BRP’s culture of relentless innovation and focus on R&D mirrors our own. We are proud to join such a respected company and look forward to breaking new ground with them. Together, we will continue providing class-leading Pinion gearbox technology to our 100+ valued bicycle manufacturers while at the same time expanding our offering and developing next-generation drive solutions.”

This announcement follows BRP’s acquisition of Great Wall Motor Austria GmbH, a leading EV R&D centre based in Kottingbrunn, Austria, specializing in e-drive systems and transmissions, solidifying BRP’s expertise in electric powertrain technology for existing product lines and upcoming product introductions.

CAUTION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain information included in this release, including, but not limited to, the anticipated benefits associated with this acquisition, statements relating to the integration of Pinion GmbH in the Company’s business, and the Company’s plans for existing product lines and upcoming product introductions, the Company’s business and strategic plans, and other statements that are not historical facts, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Canadian and United States securities laws. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terminology such as “may”, “will”, “would”, “should”, “could”, “expects”, “forecasts”, “plans”, “intends”, “trends”, “indications”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “estimates”, “outlook”, “predicts”, “projects”, “likely” or “potential” or the negative or other variations of these words or other comparable words or phrases. Forward looking statements, by their very nature, involve inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on several assumptions, both general and specific. BRP cautions that its assumptions may not materialize and that current economic conditions render such assumptions, although reasonable at the time they were

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made, subject to greater uncertainty. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results or performance of BRP to be materially different from the outlook or any future results or performance implied by such statements. Further details and descriptions of these and other factors are disclosed in BRP’s annual information form dated March 24, 2022.

About BRP

We are a global leader in the world of powersports products, propulsion systems and boats built on 80 years of ingenuity and intensive consumer focus. Our portfolio of industry-leading and distinctive products includes Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea-Doo watercraft and pontoons, Can-Am on and off-road vehicles, Alumacraft and Quintrex boats, Manitou pontoons and Rotax marine propulsion systems as well as Rotax engines for karts and recreational aircraft. We complete our lines of products with a dedicated parts, accessories and apparel portfolio to fully enhance the riding experience. With annual sales of CA$7.6 billion from over 120 countries, our global workforce includes close to 20,000 driven, resourceful people.

www.brp.com

@BRPNews

Ski-Doo, Lynx, Sea-Doo,Can-Am, Rotax, Alumacraft, Manitou, Quintrex, and the BRP logo are trademarks of Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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2 thoughts on “Why Would Ski-Doo Parent Company Buy Gearbox Corporation

  • John Prusak: I always enjoy your careful and insightful reporting on the industry and trends, such as your commentary on BRP’s recent dealings. I was also attentive to your regular, but judicious, use of a well-placed parenthetical comment. (Hmm..,wonder where you learned that? Or did I learn that from you?)

    Reply
    • Well how good to hear from your Mr. Ehlert, Sir: I do hope all is well on your end of the planet and this summer is treating you particularly well. Sometimes people on our other brands around here wonder why I put so many business stories on our website, but they are often the most-read stories on our site. As I tell the co-workers, “Snowmobilers are crazily passionate about their sport, and anything that affects the sport or even the companies that make products for our sport, a lot of sledheads are curious about.” I guess that’s what makes us snowmobilers different… Speaking of which, if you are ever up in this neck of the woods in the winter (I know, probably hard to pull you out of Florida that time of year!) and would want to go for a ride, let me know.

      Reply

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