KTM Speaks on Ownership Rumors – Denies What?

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As we reported last week, there were rumors circulating that Bajaj was poised to take a controlling interest in KTM, which could see the Indian manufacturer owning up to 90% of the Austrian company. After the circulation of these rumors KTM released a statement (posted after the jump) that touched on some of the issues brought about by the weekend’s news coverage, namely the future ownership structure of the company.

Some publications have taken this release as a denial of the acquisition rumors (which the release at no point actually says), but like many press releases what is said is often less important that what isn’t said. Sensational headlines aside, KTM’s response only suggests that CROSS Industries AG will remain the majority shareholder in KTM, and in no way denied rumors that Bajaj would be increasing its stake in the Austrian company. While CROSS and KTM’s current leadership seem set to remain intact at KTM (what was actually stated in the release), our sources continue to point to Bajaj increasing its stake in KTM, while the company’s glaring omission to address that part of the industry rumors seems to confirm that initial suspicion.

With KTM’s shareholder general assembly only two weeks away, we won’t have long to wait to see how the over $40 million of additional stock gets spread out over current and potential investors. Press release after the jump, for you to make the call yourselves on what was said.

“Back on track”. That is the best way to describe the current situation of the KTM Group.After the most difficult financial year in the company’s history (2008/2009) KTM has returned to the profit zone following immediate and successful restructuring measures.

A turnover of €110.7 million has resulted in a clear profit of € 3.6 million for the first quarter of the current financial year.

‘KTM has managed to increase its market share in contrast to the still declining trend in the motorcycle market.

Altogether 17,056 motorcycles were sold in the first quarter 2009/10 (- 15% compared to the previous year). Inventory at both KTM and its dealers was reduced by more than one third.

‘Following the positive company development, the KTM Power Sports AG has issued an invitation to shareholders to attend an extraordinary general assembly on February 26, 2010.

The most important item on the agenda of the meeting is a resolution to further increase capital via the main shareholders by an additional € 30-40 million.

‘This planned measure will not result in any changes to the industrial leadership of CROSS Industries at the KTM Powersports AG.

The CROSS Industries will continue to hold more than 50% of the shares in KTM Powersports AG. Thus the management of KTM will continue to pursue its successful chosen course, also in the future.’

Source: KTM