Stealing Steel, Rolling Thunder

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Wheat Ridge, C0, Sept. 20, 2001--Gen-X Sports of Toronto has acquired the operating assets and intellectual properties of Volant Sports, LLC for an undisclosed amount.

According to Gen-X president John Collins, the company plans eventually to ship Volant's production equipment to an existing European ski factory and contract production there. Short term, there's a chance that the existing Wheat Ridge plant may be used to build a sample run of next year's product. "We have some critical milestones to reach before the SIA show," Collins said.

Gen-X hopes to keep the existing Volant sales force intact. "Our market for Volant is specialty ski shops in North America, and I have no one in this building with those relationships," Collins said.

Gen-X, founded in 1996, grossed about US$160 million last year (Volant did $12 million). The company purchased the Limited snowboard brand from Volant two years ago. Its brands include Tommy Armour, Ram, TearDrop and Zebra golf equipment; Limited and Lamar snowboards; and Oxygen, Rage and Dukes scooters, skates and skateboards.

In a prepared statement, James Salter, CEO of Gen-X, said, "This is an outstanding opportunity for Gen-X to build on its existing platforms by entering into the ski category with such a prestigious brand. We will provide Volant the financial support it requires to fully exploit exciting new patent pending technology and the leadership on a go-forward basis."

Bottom line: Volant dealers don't have to worry about inventory leaking out of the specialty channels. Gen-X acquires very little ski inventory. Volant is 80 to 90 percent shipped and skis will be in short supply this season. According to Volant president Mark Soderberg, receivables will be due to Volant Sports, while Gen-X will focus on putting a redesigned line into production for delivery next fall.