Friday, July 24, 2009

To Late for Scorpa

If you've read my previous post, you now know there is a little know French motorcycle industry that actually still manufactures motorcycles. If you step back far enough through the decades, you'll find there was a pretty significant number of company's here doing just that. Now barely a handful of small producers exist including Voxan, Wakan, GIMA, Sherco and Side-Bike. Up until last week there was also Scorpa.

Founded in 1995, the corporation based in Alès garnered a strong reputation within the dirt bike world and certain models, such as the T-RIDE 250F (single cylinder), were extremely capable machines. Looking towards the future, Scorpa had even delved into the two-wheeled electric market establishing Scorpa Electric Vehicles (S.E.V.) in 2008. The E-Tricks was a combination mountain bicycle and off-road motorcycle. At feather weight 88 lbs. and offering 30+ miles of autonomy, it had received a fair amount of interest.

Following a declaration of suspension of payments due on January 16 2009, Scorpa was able to continue its business activity for 6 months under observation in order to develop a reorganization plan. While a continuation plan had been envisioned, it was not to be implemented as Scorpa was unable to obtain agreement from the principal bank holding its debts. Under a mutual accord with dept holders, discussions continued with the hope of finding a new owner to bring the company back in the black.

Several rescuers presented themselves and two were lobbied:

- An Italian investor associated with Gas Gas presented a plan which including creating a stock offering and maintaining 75% of the jobs and the current manufacturing site under the condition that Yamaha would continue its supply of motors. Unfortunately Yamaha did not wish to continue the relationship within the framework of a project connected to Gas Gas. As such, the court noted that this condition, essential to the offer, could not be filled and had no choice but to reject this option.

- The corporation Fites, representing the personal interests of the owner and founder of Sherco motorcycles deposed an offer also taking into consideration a stock offering, but guarantying only 25% of the existing workforce is kept and a relocation of the manufacturing to a facility in Nîmes. The court considered that the social benefit of this offer was unsatisfactory.

The end result: the Court of Commerce of Nîmes directed a verdict requiring liquidation of Scorpa. The sale their assets will be managed by Mê Pierre Julien, Judicial Delegate, 9 Blvd Victor Hugo, 13100 Tarascon.

Source: (French)