Hornby makes tracks into German market

01-09-2006

Model railway and hobby firm Hornby has announced the acquisition of German-based model accessory firm Heico Modell.

The independent retailer, which has more than 1,200 customers, has been bought out for a nominal sum, with Hornby also assuming Heico's liabilities of €200,000 (£135,000).

Hornby has said that it hopes the acquisition will help it to strengthen its inroads into Germany, regarded as the biggest in Europe, as it steps up continental operations in France, Spain and Italy.

"We believe that the (German) market offers huge potential for growth as we launch new products into the market," said the firm's chief executive Frank Martin.

"Our strategy to establish a global model railway and slot racing business is well advanced and this is a vital move that will enable us to grow in Germany. We are confident that we will be able to take advantage of the existing distribution network and significantly increase the volume of products that we sell in Germany," he added.

Hornby, which along with model railways also owns Scalextric, has been forced to expand into the more profitable continental markets after consumer interest in Britain waned.

There has been speculation in the last day that Hornby is preparing a compassionate bid for iconic model firm Airfix, with the company's owners Humbrol going into administration on Thursday.


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