Steve Paraskevas steps in as the General Manager of the Avanti Bicycle Company after it purchased the Pacific Brands Bicycle Devision. After the announcement was made there was discussion and even concerns about the future of some of the brands as well as what the acquisition means for the Bike Hubs stores and distribution. Mr Paraskevas was able to take a few moments from his busy schedual to answer some questions for Christopher Jones on Bicycles Network Australia (BNA).
BNA: The Avanti Bicycle Company announced the purchase of the Pacific Brands Bicycle Division last week, both with the well known "own brands", Avanti and Malvern Star. Does the acquisition mean that you can forsee any changes in production, distribution or marketing for these brands?
Steve Paraskevas: There are no changes planned at this stage.
BNA: Malvern Star has been ressurected as a brand, most notably with the Oppy, could we see it however turn into a supermarket brand, much like Repco has become?
Steve Paraskevas: We do not intend to move it into the Mass Market.
BNA: Can you provide an overview the Avanti Bicycle Company, which brands do you now own and which ones do you distribute in Australia?
Steve Paraskevas: We own the Avanti, Zero, Peak Fuel and Volta brands, and Avanti currently distributes Scott, Kenda, and DT
BNA: There are over 40 Avanti Plus branded stores in Australia and 23 Bike Hub stores, will they remain separated or do forsee changes with these local bike shops?
Steve Paraskevas: We have not planned to make any immediate changes to the 2 networks but we will sit down with all our dealers individually to discuss the best way forward.
BNA: What about the range of brands available in both stores, will they be able to expand their range?
Steve Paraskevas: Our intention is that in the short term P&A brands will be made available to the majority of dealers in both networks, and bicycle brands will continue to be sold through existing channels
BNA: Will any of your Avanti Plus or Bike Hub store have another other significant changes as a result of the new business development?
Steve Paraskevas: We don’t forsee any significant changes in the short term.
BNA: You have come from Pacific Brands and have been named the Australian General Manager of the Avanti Bicycle Company. Do you face a learning curve in your role to manage a much broader group?
Steve Paraskevas: The size of the acquisition is definitely an exciting challenge we as a team are looking forward to managing, and I believe this will be a fantastic opportunity for the staff in general to learn and develop themselves, including myself.
BNA: For the administration, does the aquisition mean job losses for Pacific Brands staff?
Steve Paraskevas: Avanti is pleased to be making offers of employment to the vast majority of Pacific Brands bicycle division staff.
BNA: The aquisition makes Avanti a very strong player in the Australian market – does this mean that you have more bargaining power with respect to pricing, specifically with the popularity of online shopping?
Steve Paraskevas: In some respects we may have increased bargaining power as a result of the acquisition which we will attempt to utilise to build and maintain strong relationships with our resellers and customers. However, ultimately the market for Bicycles, parts and accessories at wholesale and retail level (including online) remains fragmented and highly competitive so it will be our continued commitment to our business values including excellent levels of service that will build our relationships rather than our size.
BNA: While Avanti already run a large online store, will we see any changes to business as online sales grow?
Steve Paraskevas: We are constantly looking at how to grow our on-line business and with the addition of some brands this will add a certain level of growth.
BNA: Some customers are enquiring about their warranties, I assume that for a customer, that all warranties will be honored.
Steve Paraskevas: We will honour existing warranty terms.
BNA: Thank you kindly for your time, we wish you a successful start.