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EBR GOES BELLY UP

Erik Buell Racing, a niche US sports bike manufacturer launched in 2009 by the eponymous Erik Buell following Harley-Davidson’s closure of his original Buell incarnation, has declared itself insolvent and ceased trading after a new capital injection failed to materialise.

The company was founded with Buell’s own financial resources and then benefited from a £16.9m investment by giant Indian motorcycle manufacturer Hero MotoCorp in 2013, in return for a 49.2% shareholding. With Hero’s backing, EBR began to produce the 1190RX superbike based around a Rotax-derived engine, as well as carrying out design work on smaller mass-market models for Hero. High-profile activity included a presence on the World Superbike race grid sponsored by Hero. It also recently established a European marketing operation. Based in East Troy, Wisconsin, EBR recruited engineers from Yamaha, Boeing and General Motors. When the shutters went up, it had 126 design and production staff.

EBR has more than £13m in outstanding liabilities, according to a lawyer acting on Buell’s behalf. It has filed for Chapter 128 insolvency under Wisconsin state law, broadly similar to protection from creditors under US federal bankruptcy proceedings. This has placed the business in the hands of court-appointed receiver Michael S Polsky, who will solicit bids for its assets. A Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development notice has already announced the immediate statutory redundancy of all employees.

In a statement, Erik Buell said: “The turn we recently took, after we thought we were moving forward, was unexpected. We thought we had secured funding but, in the end, we were not able to get the funding in place. Therefore we need to do the best we can under the circumstances for all parties in interest. To say this setback is a disappointment does not begin to express what I feel right now. I am personally grateful for the support of our outstanding workers, customers and vendors. While this is a sad ending, I personally hope for a new and better beginning.”

More in the next issue of BDN.

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