New UK distributor for Scomadi – Despite the rumours | NEWS
News emerged earlier this week that the company behind distribution of the Scomadi brand in the UK, Scomadi Ltd are winding up their business in the UK (although that is far from the end of the brand). This comes after a long and expensive legal battle with Hanway and MotoGB (Hanway being the original Chinese manufacturer of the Scomadi scooters and now the people behind Royal Alloy).
The news about Scomadi Ltd came out through a social media post by Scooter Moda’s Peter Reid, although rumours of Scomadi Ltd’s financial problems have been circulating for a few months. Preston based Scomadi specialist, Scooter Moda was set up with the help of Scomadi co-founder Frank Sanderson and originally had Frank’s wife, Kaye as director and secretary – although she resigned on 16 th March 2016.
We spoke to Spencer Coe at Scooter Moda and he told us that they’d been behind Scomadi since day one. After the protracted court case left Scomadi Ltd with cash flow issues last year Scooter Moda stepped in and helped to keep them going by stumping up £100,000 to bring in a shipment of scooters to keep at Scomadi Limited HQ in Galgate. The shipment was to be used to supply themselves and existing dealers. Scomadi Ltd would pay Scooter Moda as they were sold.
We spoke to Frank Sanderson who was “Mystified” over claims he owes them money. According to Frank “Subsequent container loads were paid for using the normal Scomadi banking facility, once the initial cash flow issues were sorted out with the help of Scooter Moda.”
Scomadi (GB) Ltd
The directors of Scooter Moda are currently in the process of moving to larger premises to accommodate both their shop and their new role as Scomadi (GB) Ltd – see dealer release above, where they plan to distribute scooters as Scomadi (GB) Ltd under an agreement signed last week with Scomadi Asia Pacific.
Original Scomadi Ltd joint owner, Paul Melici had already left Scomadi Ltd and formally resigned from the company on 19th March 2019 to concentrate on his other business, PM Tuning. Spencer told us “Paul has been a great help as we’ve made the transition from scooter dealer to distributor .”
That’s not the whole story though, Companies House lists a selection of registered Scomadi companies, including Scomadi Worldwide – Paul, Frank and Kaye are still listed as directors on that one, although the Thais have shares. Scomadi Worldwide is still operating under the directorship of the original Scomadi duo and with Thai partners.
The directors behind Scooter Moda are the newly signed Scomadi UK distributors, essentially working for Scomadi Worldwide. It leaves Peter Reid’s social media post seeming rather misplaced and untimely.
The Scomadi story is one I’ve followed from the very early days as Frank built his prototypes from a unit on a farm near Preston. This progressed on to a run of limited edition hand-built Scomadi 250/300s and escalated to a full production 50/125/200cc machine built by Hanway in China for Scomadi Ltd. All seemed rosy and demand quickly outstripped supply, leading Hanway and Scomadi to look for an additional manufacturing plant in Thailand – Thailand being the main market for Scomadi at that time, as it still is.
In 2016 Hanway stopped the supply of scooters to Scomadi and due to a well-written clause in a Chinese contract, it lead to Scomadi Ltd becoming involved in a very expensive court case (which didn’t go in Scomadis favour). This left the door open for Hanway to build what are essentially rebadged Scomadis (Royal Alloy) and for Lancashire based multi-brand importer, MotoGB to distribute them in Scomadis home country – saturating the UK retro market. Two British entrepreneurs exploited by a Chinese loophole. Scomadi Ltd then applied for an appeal hearing, which was due to be heard in March this year. Frank said, “Scomadi Ltd had high expectations of winning the appeal but it was decided that it would be in Scomadis best interests to enter into what is known as a ‘Drop hand situation’ with MotoGB and Hanway”. This placed restrictions on what Hanway could manufacture but more importantly ensured warranty and parts supply for Chinese manufactured scooters. It also ended all litigation.
The future of Scomadi?
The original Thai Scomadi factory is up and running, albeit having lost around 18 months of ground over Royal Alloy – thanks to the court case. Scomadi Worldwide as a brand are doing well though, they’re moving to a larger, additional state of the art factory based in Thailand’s ‘Bike Hub’ area, with manufacturers such as Ducati, Triumph and Harley Davidson as neighbours. They aim to triple production. They have also recently gone into the Indian market and are still busy developing new models and products.
Minor International PLC
The Scomadi company attracted some large financial backers, in the form of Minor International PLC, allowing Scomadi Worldwide a chance to dominate the retro scooter world market – a sector they essentially created. The brand may no longer be controlled by ‘just’ the two people who created it but as we go to press Paul Melici has just returned from one of his frequent visits to the factory, Frank will be out there next week and although the Scomadi story has moved away from its Lancashire roots the Scomadi story is far from over.
Scooter Moda robbery
It’s not been a good week for Scooter Moda, as they were moving into their new premises they suffered a break in. Five scooters were taken in total, two of which were personal to the shop. The haul included three Scomadis, Peter Reid’s own GP 200 and an AJS Modena.
As usual, internet rumours quickly put two and two together but Scooter Moda have given the police the names of two local burglars who have been named as the people behind it. Thankfully this is no organised gang of travelling scooter shop thieves, simply opportunist scum bags who saw an easy target. Spencer pointed out that an organised gang wouldn’t have taken an AJS and left a nice Lambretta that was sat beside it…
The directors behind Scooter Moda are looking forward to getting things back on track, both with the new shop and their new role as UK Scomadi distributor – Scomadi (GB) Ltd. They’re happy to welcome both old and new Scomadi dealers and customers.
New products always in development…