KTM – A Clockwork Orange?

If you were ever to think about an Austrian sports hegemon, you would probably come up with an idea of winter disciplines. The ski jumping, skiing, snowboarding, and similar, nothing close to what I have on my mind – motorcycling. Even though it may sound as a joke, the Austrians have been doing it great in the field in last 20 years. Let me introduce a Clockwork Orange – The KTM.

Surprising as it is, the KTM has won a Paris-Dakar race 15 times in a row. A glorious feat without a precedence.

History of the firm dates back to 1934 when an Austrian engineer Johann (Hans) Trunkenpolz set up a metal workshop in Mattighofen in Austria. He would’ve never thought that the small family business would turn out to be a widely known engineering company. Three years later, he was one of the first men in Austria selling DKW motorcycles.
1951 was the year the KTM introduced its first self-made model. In 1954 the workshop was officially named as ‘Kronreif, Trunkenpolz, Mattighofen’ (KTM). A team of 20 employees is producing three motorcycles per day. First ever sports model is built in 1957 – the Trophy 125cc.

The worldwide expansion began in 1968 when the KTM entered a US market with the cross-country Penton Six Days dirt bike. In the meantime, the company claimed its first motocross World Championship title, won for KTM in 1974 by Russian rider Gennadij Moiseev in the 250cc class. Since then, the motocross and enduro have been a trademark for orange machines. In 1978 the KTM opened its first offshore factory in Ohio, United States.

Even though the 70s were a success period for the KTM, in late 80s things became to change. Unfortunately, in 1991 the company filed for bankruptcy. A year later KTM Sportsmotorcycle GmbH is created, as one of the four nearly independent KTM firms. In 1994 the motorcycles part is renamed as the KTM-Sportsmotorcycle AG – a new chapter of continuous success and victories is born.

The same year, the Austrians launched the Duke series , which is seen as a huge commercial success in the road-naked motorbikes category. So were, the new moto-crosses and enduros that were winning race after race all around the world.

In the mid-90s, the KTM started to expand their business acquiring both WP Suspension and the sports motorcycle manufacturer HUSABERG. In 1997 LC4 Supermoto and LC4 Adventure motorcycles are introduced by KTM. Two years later, the KTM implemented its “Ready to Race’ philosophy, which was a special program to create a dominant force for the Paris-Dakar event.

The Orange horsepower has been unbeatable in the desert race since 2001. Together with Red Bull, yet another Austrian potentate, they created a symbol of winning and striving for perfection.

Please see attached link to have a closer look at all Paris-Dakar titles:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakar_Rally#Motorbikes

A Dakar success is no coincidence, it is all hard work and dedication of the Austrian engineering. At the moment, KTM is one of the most known Austrian companies, being put on the same shelf as Red Bull or Swarovski. Often it is seen as a premium motorcycle manufacturer competing with the Italians, Ducati or Aprilia. Currently, the KTM offers a variety of machines, both off and on the road. The Duke series has been a tremendous success in nearly every capacity class from 125cc to the big and bad Super Duke 1290 R. A product that redefined the meaning of a power-naked (nearly 200 horsepower in, what is considered, as a street bike).

From an economic point of view, the firm is having its best time and is expanding year after year. Its revenue has grown by 100% in the last 5 years:

KTM revenue

A Number of employees has also significantly risen from 1750 in 2011 to more than 2500 in 2015.

ktm eplyoees
Its stocks are traded on Vienna Stock Exchange as KTM:AG at the high price of 122.8 Eur. The firm pays regular yearly dividends. The last one was processed on 25th of April 2016 with a rate of 2.0 Eur per share.

The stock price of the KTM has sky-rocketed from 35 Eur in 2012 to nearly 123 Eur as of today. Quite a change, isn’t?

KTM stock

Find more at:http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/KTM:AV

Right now the KTM owns about 10% of the market and is divided into several sub-companies under a KTM brand.

KTM divisions

source: http://www.ktmgroup.com/globalassets/media/files/financial-reports/2016/ktm-ag-gb2015-e.pdf

It looks the future is getting brighter and brighter for the folks wearing Orange. The company is taking its part in the market and seems like they have no desire to stop. Whole of the motorcycle world is waiting for the brand new 2017 Super Duke R which might be a top rival for the Dark Yamaha MT-10. The Austrian cooperation of the Red Bull and KTM is aiming at yet another Dakar win next winter, and it seems like BMW is not going to take it from them. What is more, from the next season the KTM will be having a MotoGP team and we could hear the rumours of Casey Stoner returning with them. Even though the firm was in big trouble in the early 90s they did come back. Well, isn’t it in the nature of Austrians? There was that big guy from an Alpine village of Thal and he once said “I’ll be back” – so was the KTM.

Tomasz Kurowski

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