HOT NEWS – October 20, 2003

Colaninno gets Piaggio
Immsi SpA, an investment vehicle directed by Italian entrepreneur Roberto Colaninno, has reached an agreement to purchase control of scooter and engine maker Piaggio. The deal is expected to close this month.

Bringing an end to discussions started in the spring, Immsi signed a contract with Morgan Grenfell Private Equity Ltd., a unit of Deutsche Bank AG, and PB Srl, a company set up to represent Piaggio’s creditor banks.

According to reports from Italy Immsi will own 31.25% of the shares of Piaggio’s stock and take management control of the company in exchange for a cash injection of $115 million and a short-term loan of about $17.2 million. Colaninno will become chairman of Piaggio and its holding company while Immsi chief executive Rocco Sabelli will become its CEO.

Morgan Grenfell and other current shareholders, including Ducati’s main shareholder Texas Pacific Group, have agreed to inject an additional $17.2 million into Piaggio, the Italian press reported. The company’s 27 creditor banks, represented through PB Srl, also will become equity holders through a $137.8 million debt conversion plan.

Piaggio Holding is valued at $367.5 million, and the various financing measures may cut Piaggio’s debt nearly in half to an estimated $285 million.
Immsi has agreed not to sell its stake for five years but hinted that Piaggio could one day hold an initial public offering.

Colaninno plans to bolster Piaggio by investing nearly $265 million in research and development from 2004 to 2007, concentrating mainly on the Far East, according to information provided by Immsi.

Piaggio sales have slumped in some of its most important markets during the past two years. In 2002, Piaggio sold 360,000 scooters, down 10% from the year before. Revenue slipped to about $1.09 billion from just over $1.13 billion.

Colaninno led Olivetti’s $35 billion hostile takeover of Telecom Italia SpA in 1999. Two years later, after cashing in on that deal, he sought new investments and acquired Immsi last year as a takeover vehicle.

Robin Hartfiel leaves Dealernews magazine


Robin Hartfiel, editor-in-chief of Dealernews magazine, is leaving the publication after 14 years. Hartfiel has agreed to take the position of publisher and editor-in-chief for Motorcycle Product News (MPN), in Madison, Wisc.,and will be leading the magazine from California, Powersports Business has learned. Hartfiel’s move to MPN follows the exit of former MPN Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Steve Dye.

“It’s certainly not our desire to see Robin go, and, we fought hard to keep him,” noted Advanstar Communications Vice President Mike Webster. “Nevertheless, we respect Robin’s decision.”

Officials at Dealernews say they are interviewing replacements for Hartfiel’s position.

TRIUMPH adds Marketer

Triumph Motorcycles has named Tue Mantoni to the newly created position of commercial director.  He will oversee the commercial strategy of Triumph worldwide including all sales and marketing related activities.

During this past year, Tue, working with the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, established corporate strategic growth plans for Triumph along with worldwide marketing goals. Mantoni was previously senior consultant and project leader with McKinsey in London, England. Mantoni joined Triumph Aug. 1, 2003.

Dealers Can Register Online for V-Twin Expo

Online registration is under way for the 2004 V-Twin Expo by Easyriders, the motorcycle industry’s V-twin-exclusive trade show. The Expo will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2004, at the Cincinnati, Ohio, Convention Center. Dealers may register in advance at the show’s web site: Dealers without online access can register by calling show management at 623/551-1847.

“In 2004, we’ll have more than 260 V-twin companies using over 650 booth spaces for their displays, and the numbers are still growing,” said Jim Betlach, show producer . “Most importantly, the V-Twin Expo continues to serve the interests of dealers and companies who are focused on the V-twin industry.”

To rent exhibit space at the V-Twin Expo by Easyriders, call Betlach at 952/443-4168.


The AMA Introduction to Washington
seminar is set for March 6-9 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. It is designed to let students learn from the experts about the issues facing motorcyclists. It will also cover the ins and outs of working with members of Congress and federal agencies.

Seminar registration fee is $75 and the registration deadline is Feb. 11. Seminar materials and some meals are included. Space is limited and AMA membership is required. For more information, or to register by phone, contact Sharon Titus at 614/856-1900, Ext. 1252 or e-mail

S&S Names President

S&S Cycle Inc. named Brett Smith president of the Viola, Wisc., engine maker, effective Oct. 1. Smith is the grandson of George and Marjorie Smith, founders of S&S Cycle. He began his career with the company as CFO in February 2002. In April 2003, he was given the additional responsibility for sales and marketing while maintaining the CFO title. As president, he will no longer serve as CFO, but will continue to serve as acting vice president of-sales and marketing. The interim-president, Mike Alexander, has reverted to his status as vice president of manufacturing.

Motorcycle Statue Stolen

A one-of-a-kind bronze motorcycle statue was stolen from the front of the Helmet House headquarters in Calabasas Hills, Calif., during the night of Oct. 9, 2003.

The statue was created as part of the company’s new headquarters building, said Mark Gandy.

If you have information about the missing statue, contact Gandy at 800/421-7247 or

Suntrek Joins EagleRider

Two adventure tour operators, EagleRider and Suntrek, say they have joined forces in a new program that will offer Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Suntrek’s new 2004 tour catalog.

Suntrek, Santa Rosa, Calif., operates adventure and active tours in small international groups throughout the U.S., including Alaska, as well as Canada and Mexico. EagleRider, headquartered in Los Angeles, rents the complete Harley-Davidson motorcycle line, as well as its Adventure Rentals featuring ATVs, PWC and off-road motorcycles. EagleRider has 30 locations in major U.S. cities, as well as rental locations in Mexico, Spain and France.


This listing was accidentally dropped from the Computer Directory in the special computer report that ran in the Aug. 18, 2003, issue of Powersports Business:

SofTek Software International (S)
241 Federal Plaza West
Youngstown, OH, 44503
330/743-1201 FAX: 330/743-1235
Est: 1994
The Business Assistant(TBA) offers point-of-sale, inventory, service, and parts and related accounting features, as well as receiving and shipping functions and webstore and catalog sales tracking capabilities.
Contact: Jim Thompson, vice president of sales and marketing.

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