The Aprilia Group failed to repay 7.5 million euro on a 100 million euro bond on May 3, but the terms of the note, placed in 2002, envisaged a postponement of three days after the maturity date of the issue, thus allowing the Italian group until May 6 to come up with the necessary funds and restart production.
Aprilia reportedly stopped production in April after suppliers ceased deliveries in lieu of payment. The latest developments in this story surfaced as this issue of Powersports Business went to press.
One effort to achieve repayment has had the group dealing with seven banks to re-open a 14 million euro credit line which was recently closed, and to provide an additional 30 million euro bridge loan. Talks between Aprilia and the banks, named in Italian press reports as SanPaolo IMI, Banca Intesa, Unicredito, Antonveneta, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) and Capitalia, lasted until late into the evening of May 3.
The banks reportedly agreed to grant the 30 million euro in new financing, but placed conditions that could not be ironed out, according to Italian financial newspaper Mercati Finanziari.
In a second scenario, Aprilia could be assisted via deals with fellow Italian motorbike manufacturers. Ducati is not hiding its interest in Aprilia’s Moto Guzzi brand – a Ducati official told Powersports Business that Ducati company leaders have visited the Aprilia plant and have examined its books — and Piaggio CEO Roberto Colaninno has publicly expressed a desire to expand his two-wheel enterprise through a deal with Aprilia.
Of course, a move by either company would necessitate rigorous investigation by Italian trade officials, taking time Aprilia appears to have very little of.
Aprilia has approximately 120 dealers operating in the U.S. Last year, Aprilia’s U.S. unit sales grew by about 10%, but it’s marketshare was less than 1%. In the first quarter this year, U.S. sales have slipped by nearly 6%. psb
Copyright 2003 Powersports Business