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TVS could bid to buy Norton that is being sold to pay-off debts

Written by Nizam Shaikh

Chennai headquartered TVS Motors could be bidding for UK heritage motorcycle brand Norton which is said to have gone into administration since January 2020. According to a media report, TVS may have reached out to Norton administrators to offer them a deal for the company. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the advisory firm BDO LLP is likely to be providing professional services to the British brand.

James Lansdowne Norton founded Norton in 1898 as a two-wheeler trading and parts fitting company and by four years later in 1902, the first Norton motorcycle was produced. The motorcycles used engine from french and swiss manufacturers. In 1908, the brand produced the first Norton engine which was a single-cylinder with a side valve and the Norton motorcycles were sold at the Harrods which was a department store back in the early 90s located at Knightsbridge London. 

Between 1930 and 1945 Norton manufactured almost 100,000 side-valve engined motorcycles as their contribution to the war effort. 1949 saw the introduction of the twin-cylinder Dominator and by 1951 the Norton Dominator and other Café Racer motorcycles were available with the brand’s lightweight but strong Featherbed frame to help the motorcycles negotiate tight turns at the Isle of Man TT races. The Norton Commando was introduced in 1961 and in the successive years, 500,000 were produced and sold.

Between the 1980s and the 2000s, Norton saw a lot of ups and downs and was incarnated time and again. In 2009 the company’s CEO Stuart Garner set the world speed record for a rotary-powered motorcycle and in 2010 delivered the first Commando 961 with the Norton brand returning to production motorcycles.

Stuart Garner is currently under investigation by the UK Pensions Regulator and has been alleged to have failed to return retirement pots to employees when he was the trustee for three pension programs, says a media report. 

TVS which is more popular for its commuter segment motorcycles is likely to expand its operations in the performance segment where the Chennai based brand produces a sells the Apache series, performance-oriented motorcycles. The brand has already joined hands with BMW to develop the engine on the Apache RR310. As of now, there are no confirmed reports if TVS will be bidding for Norton and we will have to wait for future developments.