Hackers ultimately drove the bicycle manufacturer Prophete into bankruptcy.

A shutdown of several weeks after a cyber attack triggered the registration, as the provisional insolvency administrator Manuel Sack told the FAZ.

“The company was attacked by hackers at the end of November.

As a result, the company was idle for three to four weeks," said the restructuring specialist who works for the law firm Brinkmann & Partner.

"The resulting losses were no longer manageable for the company." The special problem came on top of an unexpectedly weak business development, because Prophete had missed its sales target by far in the past 2021/22 financial year (at the end of September).

Klaus Max Smolka

Editor in Business.

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The insolvency of the brand conglomerate became known at the end of December.

On the one hand, Prophete sells the low-price bicycles of the same name, which are available in hardware stores and discounters such as Aldi.

On the other hand, the subsidiary Cycle Union runs brands for the specialist trade: Kreidler, Rabeneick and VSF Fahrradmanufaktur as well as E-Bike Manufaktur as an e-bike offshoot.

Cycle Union manufactures its own vehicles;

Prophete bikes are manufactured by the Romanian company Eurosport DHS, in which Prophete has a 47.5 percent stake.

Also homemade problems

In 2021/22, the Prophete Group achieved sales of 159 million euros, as Sacks spokesman said on request.

210 million euros were planned.

The company had made the purchase with a view to the target figure.

So it is now apparently sitting on unusually full camps.

On the one hand, this is due to an industry-wide difficulty: essential parts do not arrive due to disrupted supply chains.

The other components are then available, but the bike cannot be delivered.

However, other providers have nevertheless increased their sales.

Sack therefore suspects "homemade problems" due to planning errors, although he still has no evidence of this.

According to the information, a financing round for Prophete started in June, to which shareholders and lenders contributed.

Then came the cyber attack at the end of November that paralyzed the company.

The "losses resulting from the interruption of operations" are the reason that the financiers were no longer willing to provide further financing, Sack said.

There is still a lack of clarity about many brands

The insolvency administrator has now initiated a sales process (FAZ from January 10).

In the shop window are the operating companies Prophete in Rheda-Wiedenbrück and Cycle Union in Oldenburg, associated with the brands Prophete, E-Bike Manufaktur, VSF Fahrradmanufaktur and Kreidler.

Striking: Rabeneick is missing.

Sack says that the brand will no longer be produced due to the implementation of brand concentration.

The same applies to the Swype brand for e-mountain bikes, which was only introduced in 2019 and which Cycle Union has on a separate website.

"Further use of the brands will be discussed as part of the transaction process," Sacks spokesman said.

In 2020/21, Prophete GmbH & Co. KG, which includes the business with the Prophete brand, had a turnover of 101 million euros, as can be seen from the annual financial statements in the Federal Gazette.

Equity was estimated at 12 percent.

Cycle Union reported sales of 59 million euros and mentioned restructuring, previous quality problems and a production and delivery stop of several weeks in the separate annual financial statements.