Dutch e-bike maker VanMoof declared bankrupt

By Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -Dutch e-bike maker VanMoof has been declared bankrupt and administrators are considering whether it can sell assets and restructure to save the business, the company said on Tuesday.

VanMoof, which raised 100 million euros ($112.56 million) to expand internationally as sales boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, filed for protection from creditors last week.

A company statement said that a judge at the Amsterdam District Court had declared the company’s Dutch operations bankrupt on July 17.

Two administrators named to oversee the company “are continuing to assess the situation at VanMoof”, including whether it can sell assets, reorganise and continue to operate.

VanMoof bikes feature a sleek, simplistic design with the battery built into the frame and have become common on the streets of Amsterdam, where the company was founded in 2009.

Dutch broadcaster NOS reported that the company, which sold bikes for more than 2,000 euros ($2,250) each, suffered from high costs to maintain and repair bikes while they were under warranty. About 200,000 have been sold worldwide.

Amsterdam police on Tuesday said their telephone lines were being flooded with customers complaining of “theft” because they paid for bikes that have not been delivered or because they have bikes being repaired at the company’s stores, which are now closed.

“The police cannot do anything for customers, regardless of how distressing this may be,” a police statement said.

“A bankruptcy is a civil dispute and not a criminal issue.”

The VanMoof statement noted that the company’s international subsidiaries are not part of the bankruptcy. The company declined to comment further.

NOS reported that brothers Taco and Ties Carlier, VanMoof’s founders, had thanked the company’s workers in an internal email sent to its 700 employees.

“We are sad, but above all we feel proud of what we accomplished,” the email was reported as saying.

($1 = 0.8890 euros)

(Reporting by Toby SterlingEditing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Louise Heavens and David Goodman)