From Russia with Love, MV Agusta Finds New Money

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Last week, I was ready to start polishing the obituary for MV Agusta – the Italian company seemingly in an impossibly terminal state.

Italy’s Guardia di Finanza had found that the Italian company had been using the social security contributions of its workers to pay down the money owed to parts suppliers (something MV Agusta disputes is the case), and earlier this year MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni was investigated for irregularities on his tax return.

All of this is on top of the ever precarious financial situation MV Agusta has been in for the past year, which has resulted in the company looking to restructure its €50 million debt in the Italian court system, furlough a good portion of its workforce, and reduce its production volume to roughly 9,000 units per year.

Now it seems MV Agusta’s fortunes are changing, with the Italian motorcycle maker signing an agreement with the Black Ocean investment group to recapitalize MV Agusta.

Details of the pending transaction haven’t been released, but we can assume that the increase in capital will help ease MV Agusta’s relationship with suppliers, get workers back on the assembly line, and continue the development of new models.

The €20 million question though is whether Black Ocean’s investment will mean the departure of AMG, the German auto brand acting now like an albatross around MV Agusta’s neck.

“I am very pleased that we have reached this agreement with Black Ocean,” said MV Agusta’s Giovanni Castiglioni. “Beyond the strengthening of our capital, which is important for the future growth of MV Agusta, I strongly believe that Mr. Sardarov, Mr. Ripley, and their global team will be able to contribute with their entrepreneurial and managerial skills in the consolidation of MV Agusta as a key player in the super premium motorcycle market.”

That MV Agusta should see investment from Black Ocean is of note in itself. The investing arm of the international holding Ocean Group, Black Ocean is headed by Oliver Ripley and Timur Sardarov.

Black Ocean is the key investor in the private jet chartering company Ocean Sky, which is based out of the UK. Through a sponsorship through Ocean Sky, the Ocean Group invested in the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, for an interesting factoid.

Doing business in the United States and Europe, with a sharp focus in Russia, Ripley and Saradov in many ways can be viewed analogous to Giovanni Castiglioni himself, being of similar age and socio-economic background.

It will be interesting to see how Ripley and Saradov collaborate with Giovanni, and whether Black Ocean’s presence in the Italian company will lead to more investment from other Russian interests.

MV Agusta has already had dealings with Russian-based investors of course, with Alexander Yakhnich being formerly involved with the company’s World Superbike racing efforts.

Interesting times are ahead for the Italian brand, that much is certain. Hopefully today marks a turning point in MV Agusta’s fortunes. The world would certain be a lesser place for its two-wheeled creations.

Source: MV Agusta