Mercian Cycles appoints Opus following voluntary liquidation

27 May 2024 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

As bicycle sales slump across the UK, Derby-based Mercian Cycles has become the latest retailer in the sector to collapse. The company has tasked professionals from Opus Business Advisory Group with helping it through its voluntary liquidation process.

Founded in 1946, Mercian Cycles was first established by Lou Barker and Tom Crowther. Since the pair set up shop in London Road, Derby, the firm has spent almost 80 years designing and producing steel frames for bicycles. Frequently named as one of the most esteemed and skilled British manufacturers, the firm’s eccentric colours and distinctive designs have even seen it develop a cult following in the UK and the USA.

However the cycling industry has had a hard time of late. While the pandemic saw many people invest in new bicycles as a means of avoiding crowded public transport, or finding new ways to keep fit, the initial boom in sales has fallen away – because once someone owns a bike, only the most fanatical rider will need to buy another one within a decade. With sales having previously boomed, then, fewer people actually need to buy into the market – and so cycle sales are at a 39-year low, according to the latest statistics from the Bicycle Association of Great Britain.

Mercian Cycles appoints Opus following voluntary liquidation

At the same time, cycle shops have been placed under strain by the government’s much talked about Cycle to Work scheme. At the start of 2024, the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) and senior figures from cycling retailers met with MPs from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling & Walking (APPGCW) to make their case about the "need for urgent systematic change" to the Cycle to Work scheme. The meeting comes two months after the ACT and bike shops hit back at one of the scheme's providers, Cyclescheme, for deciding to prevent retailers from charging additional fees on bikes purchased using the scheme – preventing them from making money from repairs that would usually help keep them afloat even when sales were slow.

Amid these pressures in the industry, Mercian Cycles ceased to trade and has appointed an agency to help with the process as the company enters voluntary liquidation. Speaking to industry news site road.cc, the company confirmed that an insolvency practitioner had been drafted in to assist with “taking the appropriate steps to place the company into Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation."

The firm also confirmed that professionals from Opus Business Advisory Group had been appointed for the job. In a statement to the same publication, the professionals added they were "working closely with the company to help manage a controlled wind down of the business and a smooth transition for stakeholders".

The Opus Business Advisory Group has the largest independent practice of restructuring and insolvency specialists in the UK, with a head count of over 100 and 29 partners, across 14 regional offices. Offering restructuring, corporate finance, forensic accounting, turnaround, investment and rescue planning services to clients across the UK, the firm has recently been growing its operations. As demand for insolvency services rises across the North of England, the firm recently launched a new office in Manchester.