Miniature world at large: playmats are a Majorette specialty.
The Simba Dickie Group’s Franco-German network has just been extended: in February this year it acquired model car maker Majorette.
It was quite a bumpy ride, thanks to the Paris Commercial Court, which took its time over coming to a decision and announced it just two days before the opening of the Nuremberg Toy Fair. This meant that February 2nd was the day we welcomed Majorette as the newest member of the Simba Dickie family. It is now owned by Simba Dickie subsidiary Smoby Toys SAS, based in the Haute Jura, France.
The purchase of Lyon-based Majorette took the form of an asset deal: Smoby Toys took over 28 jobs in France and 650 in Thailand, where the coveted models are produced. "This means that Smoby will be responsible for selling the models in France, but our global subsidiaries are well positioned to handle international sales. "When it comes to product development and quality control at Majorette, we’ll benefit from synergies by drawing on our model specialists at Dickie Toys," says Group CEO Michael Sieber.
He’s seen and approved the production process in Thailand, an Asian "tiger economy" which is also a favorite holiday destination. "It’s a great factory with an outstanding specialist staff," says Sieber enthusiastically, recalling his first visit. "This means a further enlargement of our manufacturing expertise."
Mini-monsters: little boys can choose from a vast selection of model vehicles.
Ownership round robin
Majorette (French for "drummer girl") was founded in 1961 by Emile Véron and soon became France’s biggest model car manufacturer. Its factory in the Nava Nakorn Industrial Promotion Zone in Thailand’s Pathum Thani province started with 11,000 square feet and now covers 140,000. The firm went bankrupt for the first time in 1992 and was taken over in 1993 by Idéal Loisirs, which was taken over in its turn by Triumph-Adler. In 2003, Majorette joined the Smoby Group as "Smoby Majorette." In March 2008, it was purchased by French investors Ml 29, but this unfortunately did not work out.
The Majorette portfolio includes the Bao and Solido brands. Bao products fit happily into Smoby’s educational toy range, while Solido is a useful addition to the Shuco range, enabling some synergies.
Boys’ toys are a growth area
Michael Sieber is delighted with the French manufacturing know-how and the safeguarding of capacity thanks to the Thai production facility. "We also anticipate substantial marketing synergies for Dickie Toys thanks to Majorette’s strong market share, particularly in France, Spain, and South America," says Sieber.
Not for the first time, the Simba Dickie Group has proved that unlike other big players in the toy industry, who buy up smaller firms and then let them wither away, the Fürth company combines all its members’ strengths so as to boost the success of each brand. Visitors to the 2011 Toy Fair can look forward to some new, jointly developed products.
WELCOME GUESTS – COO Uwe Weiler with his German staff and the new Majorette team in Thailand. Standing (l. to r.): Mr. Chaiporn (Paint & Pad Manager), Mr. Kongsak (Factory Manager), Mr. Adisorn (Financial & Administration Department Manager), Serge Vota (Managing Director Smoby Toys HK), Oliver Naumann (Managing Director Dickie Toys), Uwe Weiler (COO Simba Dickie Group), Francis Couput (Managing Director Majorette Thailand), Maximilian Stork (Executive Assistant), Tom Gerigk (Managing Director Dickie Toys HK), Mr. Jumnong (Assembly Manager), Mr. Siripong (Mold Manager), Mrs. Pattaraporn (Human Resources Manager), Mr. Chokchai (IE Manager), Mr. Suthee (Procurement Manager). In front (l. to r.): Mr. Somyos (Logistic Department Manager), Mr. Ruangsuk (Maintenance Manager), Mrs. Ticha (Accounting Manager), Mrs. Varaporn (Cost Controlling Assistant Manager), Mrs. Veeramol (QA Manager), Mr. Yuthana (Die Cast Manager).