Italian helmet manufacturer Suomy has been sold to a Hong Kong-based hedge fund SK Sport.
Suomy's owner Umberto Monti, who founded the company in 1997, retains ownership of the Suomy brand for its line of sportswear products, as well as the manufacture of helmets for skiing, cycling and equestrian sports, all of which will continue to be produced at the company's plant at Coniolo, east of Turin in Italy.
When opened in 2007 as part of the company's expansion program on the back of its sponsorship of Max Biaggi, Troy Corser and Loris Capirossi, this saw a 30% increase in production to 600 helmets each day made by its 110-strong workforce. But Suomy's 2012 turnover had slumped by 60% in five years to 6.8 million Euro, yielding a net loss of 200,0000 Euro, resulting in the workforce being cut to 52 people. Only 30 of these will be retained, says Monti. Monti said he had explored a joint venture with SK Sport, but this came to naught. 'They said no, because they wanted to purchase a strong brand linked with competition,' he says. 'They foresee a return to racing as a means of promoting their products, but by supporting riders and drivers in new markets like South-America and Asia, not at world level.'