American firm Polaris is understood to have been in talks over the possibility of rescuing MV Agusta from its current parlous financial state – but any deal is still likely to be a long way from done.
MV Agusta is currently using a form of bankruptcy protection under Italian law which prevents creditors from forcibly recovering their debts and allows the firm to remain in operation. However, it needs to put forward a credible business plan to get into profit and repay its debts – believed to be in the region of €40 million – if those creditors are to continue to be held off.
One way to achieve its goal would be to find a wealthy new owner, and there’s plenty of speculation that Polaris could be that sugar daddy. The American owner of Indian and Victory, which also bought the Brammo electric bike firm, certainly has the money to make such an acquisition, but there’s a question over whether it has the will.
On the plus side, buying MV would give it instant access to a segment of the market that it doesn’t currently occupy, as well as providing the three and four-cylinder engines that the firm makes and the technical and styling know-how that MV undeniably retains. However, it would also mean a massive investment that wouldn’t be likely to get a significant return for a considerable time as MV needs to reach a position of profitability that its track record shows is difficult to attain.
With the sports bike market worldwide in decline and Polaris continuously working to increase its own in-house ability to develop new models and engines, the purchase of MV might not be the done deal that some recent speculation suggests.
By Ben Purvis