Brompton hoards £1m bike parts in case of hard Brexit | Manufacturing sector

Brompton Bicycle has built up a stock of £1million bike parts, including rims, spokes and steel, to ensure supplies for its west London factory in the event of a hard Brexit .

The folding bike maker, which increased sales by 11% to £36.1m in the year to March 2018, has rented a warehouse near Heathrow to store an extra month’s worth of supplies at the if imports of key items are delayed by problems at ports if no agreement is reached with the EU in the coming months.

“Take storage [has cost us] £50,000 but the implications of missing out [of parts] could be £50,000 in a few days,” said Will Butler-Adams, managing director of the bike maker.

Butler-Adams said Brompton, which exports 71 per cent of its bikes, had hired consultancy Grant Thornton to help it with “crap hits fan planning” and identified parts imports as a key risk. Similar tactics have been adopted by a number of UK manufacturers, food processors and retailers, including carmaker Bentley, out-of-licensing pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi and Majestic Wine.

Butler-Adams said the group was concerned that materials from Asia and even the UK could be affected as well as those from Europe due to potential disruptions at ports and because, for example, the British steelmaker would import materials from abroad.

“The most important thing is that we will continue to get through Brexit. The rest we will manage,” he said.

The Brexit challenge comes as Brompton hopes to finally bounce back from a period where profits were depressed by investment in a new factory in Greenford, west London, which opened just over two years ago , and the development of a foldable electric bicycle. It has also branched out into direct distribution of its bikes around the world, with plans to open stores in Singapore and Paris and a second outlet in London this year.

Profits rose nearly 24% to £3.1m in the year to March 2018, according to accounts just published at Companies House. Butler-Adams said the company hoped to finally top the £3.4million profit it made in 2014 this year.

Brompton has sold 750 of its e-bikes in the UK since its launch in August and hopes to sell around 5,000 this year, starting with Benelux next month and then Spain, France, the US and Europe. ‘Germany.

Butler-Adams said Brompton UK sales have continued to rise despite wider problems in the bike market which saw major retailer Evans Cycles fall into administration last year.

“The bicycle market is still primarily recreational, but we sell to the market for life tools”. When the going gets a little tough, selling something useful is a big draw,” he said.