The Twists and Turns of MV Agusta's Financial World

Although motorcycle enthusiasts may have images of leaning their way through corners at high speeds from the saddle of a MV Agusta, high-finance is the current focus of the Italian manufacturer.

Formed by an actual Count back in 1923, the performance motorcycle manufacturer was given the green light to restructure its debt with creditors and suppliers recently. This will most likely lead to the parting of ways between MV Agusta and Mercedes-AMG, the high-end auto maker which currently enjoys a 25 percent stake in the Italian motorcycle manufacturer.

Maybe 'enjoy' isn’t the best description when discussing the manufacturing relationship. The pair have ridden a rough road with both trying to determine how they fit into each other’s world. This ‘awkward-date’ syndrome was seen as recent as last year when a Mercedes considered including MV Agusta models in its 127 AMG dealerships around the world.

Readers who wonder why MV Agusta can’t replicate Ducati’s success with Audi, the answer comes down to differences in the two corporate partnership. MV Agusta’s partnership with AMG is very different than Ducati’s with Audi. Ducati is a division of the Audi Group and is completely financially dependent on its parent company, while AMG currently only owns a 25-percent stake in MV.

The recent decision by an Italian court could start the exchanges of ‘It’s me, not you’ as many feel MV Agusta will use the opportunity to take advantage of a financial agreement signed in November 2016 between the motorcycle maker and investment group Black Ocean. Controlled by the Sardarov family and by British financier, Oliver Ripley, it’s widely believed Black Ocean will take over the position held by Mercedes-AMG.

In recent years, more of the MV Agusta history has been written about who owns the company than the motorcycles they produce. With a strong racing heritage, MV Agusta enjoys a reputation as a manufacturer of high-performance motorcycles. But over the past decade or so, ownership has changed at least four times, from Harley-Davidson and current 25 per cent stakeholder Mercedes-AMG.

The latest financial dealings come as MV Agusta feels it’s turning the corner of motorcycle success.

"In the last 12 months, the implemented measures have brought MV Agusta back in positive cash flow generation, allowing the company to accomplish the targets set in its plan and to consistently support product development and consolidation of our main markets,” Giovanni Castiglioni, President of MV Agusta, said in an statement issued for the court decision.

Working on a reduced model line-up and a workforce downsized by up to 200 employees, MV Agusta has a goal of producing 5,000 motorcycles a year. Among that production number, extending its popular streetfighter Brutale with a new 1200 cc engine. There are rumors two more models are being planned for 2018, but regardless what the Italian manufacturer rides out, they need to pay as much attention to new stringent Euro 4 emission standards as they do sweeping lines. However, MV Agusta is promising new models.

“MV Agusta has a completely new product line, born from 5 years of heavy investments that, along with our iconic brand, represent the key elements to support our growth and our clients demand," Castiglioni said.

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