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Meghna signs a joint venture deal with an Italian brand

meghna-bicycle-exmportsMeghna Group, a leading bicycle exporter in Bangladesh, has entered a joint venture deal with a famous Italian brand — Selle Bassano — to make saddles and bags for bikers across the world.

The agreement was signed last month at the Euro Bike Show in Germany, the biggest event for bicycle and parts makers in the world.

Meghna will own 70 percent, while Selle Bassano the rest, in the Selle Bassano Bangladesh that will start production in March next year, according to the deal.

“It (the joint venture) will help us increase our bicycle exports to Europe and grab new markets in the Far East and Southeast Asia, the United States and Mexico,” said Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Meghna Group.

Rahman said Selle Bassano is one of the top three saddle makers in Europe with a global reputation. Two other Italian saddle makers have joint venture companies in China and Vietnam, he said.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s top 10 bicycle exporters with nearly $113 million worth of exports in fiscal 2013-14. Presently, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and China are ahead of Bangladesh in exports. New competitors, such as Tunisia, Cambodia and Malaysia, are coming up fast to grab shares from the rising bicycle export market.

Italy is the leading producer of bicycles in the European zone. Some of the companies in Italy make world’s finest materials, especially saddles for bikes.

Luthful Bari, director (operations) of Meghna Group, said both companies have agreed to set up a company in Bangladesh from where they will export saddles and bags to global markets.

“We will be able to grab new markets with our diversified products,” Bari said. Initially, the new venture will produce one lakh saddles per month and production will increase on demand, he said.

Meghna Group has three bicycle assembling units — Transworld Bicycle, Uniglory Cycle Industries and Mahin Cycles. Meghna manufactures mountain bikes, city bikes, free styles, trekking, folding, beach cruiser and kid bikes.

Currently, some of the world’s leading companies, including Raleigh, PCM and Motor and Sports of the UK, Aldi of Holland, Bacht-enkirch Interbike of Germany, M&F De Schee-maeker and Formula Cycling of Belgium, import bicycles from Meghna.

There are three other bicycle makers in Bangladesh — two of them are in export processing zones and the third one is Pran-RFL, another local conglomerate which has come into the business recently.

German-Bangla Bicycles, which was a joint venture between Bangladesh Power Trade Group and German Panther International GmbH, has had operations closed for the past two years.

Bangladesh exported bicycles worth $112.89 million in 2013-14, up from around $105 million in 2012-13 and 2011-12.

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Report: Sajjadur Rahman
Source: Daily Star 

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