Korys, the investment company of the Colruyt family, is taking a majority stake in Santos Bikes, a Dutch producer of travel bikes. They also provide bikes to the Ghent police.
Founded in 1997, Santos Bikes doesn’t make bikes on the assembly line. Every bike that leaves the workshop in New Fenbe, south of Amsterdam, is custom-made. Customers can adapt almost all components according to their wishes.
The company originally specialized in travel bikes to explore the world packed and bagged. The cheapest models quickly cost 3000 euros. But it was made for life, as it were, with little maintenance costs. Anyone who travels doesn’t want to run into any problems along the way,’ says Thomas de Kempener of Corres.
Meanwhile, Santos Bikes has expanded its range with gravel bikes, commuter bikes, electric bikes, and “patrol bikes.” For example, the Ghent, Antwerp and Kortrijk police already drive Dutch two-wheeled vehicles. Cities and municipalities in the Netherlands and Sweden have also discovered Santos bikes.
Santos Bikes has an annual turnover of approximately 10 million euros. “The bicycle market is on the rise, and so is the niche of travel bikes for slow travel.” The company sells its bikes through about sixty specialty stores, mostly in the Netherlands. “We also sell in Belgium, but we could use a little bit of support there,” it seems. The company is also considering expanding to Germany and Denmark.
Korys became the majority shareholder by acquiring a stake in Think2Act Capital, another Belgian venture capital fund. Additional capital for growth is not yet on the agenda. “The company is very profitable, but we are willing to invest more if opportunities arise.”
It’s not clear exactly how much Corris put on the table. Our typical “tickets” range from 5 to 25 million euros. “This file fits right there,” says de Kempener.
The company is very profitable, but we are ready to make additional investments when opportunities arise.
For the Colruyt family, these aren’t the first steps in the bike industry. Colruyt Group Has Already Purchased Fiets Store Chain! in 2019. It has since been renamed Bike Republic and has 17 branches in our country. According to De Kempeneer, the fact that entry to Santos Bikes is via Korys and not via Colruyt Group is a logical decision. ‘Santos Bikes is a bike repair shop, and Bike Republic is a retailer. These are two different types of business.
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