Dainese To Buy AGV

Protection specialist Dainese SpA is preparing to buy helmet manufacturer and fellow Italian firm AGV SpA.

Terms of the transaction between the two privately held entities have not been disclosed. Daianese had revenue of €112 million in 2006, up 9 percent from 2005. In comparison, AGV is expected to realize revenues of about €32 million in 2007.

"The (deal) assumes strategic importance for Dainese and substantially increases its share of the international helmet market," says Dainese founder and CEO Lino Dainese.

Dainese founded his company in 1972 as a manufacturer of leather pants for the off-road market. The company quickly entered the on-road market with leather apparel and, in the 1990s, diversified by expanding into other sports such as bicycling and skiing.

Dainese product is available to consumers in the U.S. via the company's website, nearly a dozen dealerships, from two Dainese-only stores in California, from Cycle Gear and from California-based online retailer ProItalia.

Founded in 1946 by Amisano Gino, AGV began business as a manufacturer of leather seats and bicycle saddles before entering the motorcycle helmet industry in 1948.

AGV acquired the MDS brand in 1988. In 2002, AGV itself was purchased by Belgium's IMAG Group, which already owned the LAZER brand.

In the U.S., AGV business is handled by subsidiary AGV LAZER USA, LLC (AGVSport) of Des Plaines, Ill. Parts Unlimited is the exclusive U.S. distributor of AGV helmets, but the product also is retailed online via Dennis Kirk, Motorcycle USA, The Helmet Harbor, Metric Bikes, Extreme Supply, Motostrano and Shopatron.

Lino Dainese says the deal "opens the door to significant synergy at the level of R & D, production and distribution," but says it's too early to tell if and how the U.S. distribution channels of either brand could change.

Dainese says AGV Managing Director Moreno Businaro will maintain his position, while additional oversight duties go to a team formed by Dainese and including Dainese Managing Director Franco Scanagatta.