Dutch bicycle maker VanMoof granted protection from creditors

VanMoof customers in front of the locked shop door. Photo: ANP Inter Visual Studio

Dutch bicycle maker VanMoof has been granted court protection from creditors and given a two-month “cooling off period” while administrators look into ways to keep the company operating.

The company, which was launched in 2009 and has never made a profit, was known to be looking for new capital and two weeks ago called a halt to new sales. VanMoof, which has raised some €200 million from investors over the years, lost €80 million last year and a similar amount in 2021.

VanMoof told Dutch News in a statement on Wednesday it had “decided to temporarily close the brand stores for the safety of our colleagues”. According to the Financieele Dagblad, there have been angry scenes at some shops as customers turned up to collect their bikes, to be faced with locked doors.

“We are working hard to continue our services and will separately contact all customers as soon as possible regarding pending deliveries or repairs,” the statement said.

VanMoof was launched by brothers Taco and Ties Carlier and its global expansion had been fuelled by soaring demand for e-bikes since the coronavirus crisis.

However, its decision only to allow certified repair shops to work on its vehicles, and a shortage of spare parts, have led to a barrage of criticism from owners who need repairs. Its e-bikes too have been beset by technical problems.

The company, which warned in its 2022 annual report it needed more capital, has told investors it has “worked intensively” to cut costs and to find “crucial additional financing,” the FD said.

In addition, the company has missed a payment to private investors who injected €5 million into the company via crowdfunding platform Oneplanetcrowd.

Last May the De Carliers brothers handed over operational leadership to Gillian Tans, who used to run Booking.com. However, she left a year later and Taco Carlier has also stopped as CEO, Techcrunch reported earlier.

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