Bunhill: Company in need of repair

Nicholas Faith
Saturday 16 July 1994 23:02

THIS is a moral story. Once upon a time there were two great British motorcycle companies called Triumph and Norton. Then they both fell upon hard times. Indeed, Triumph was reduced to becoming a co-operative under the aegis of Tony Benn. But since then capitalism, in the shape of developer John Blore, has come to the rescue. Result: Triumph's machines, costing more than pounds 8,000 outsell BMW on the British market, and Blore is planning a factory extension to invade the US, where bikers adore rather old-fashioned machines like Triumphs.

But, alas, capitalism has not served Norton nearly as well. It has passed through the hands of a number of corporate adventurers and last week may, finally, have reached the end of the road. The exotically named Rozanda Skalbania, who had been sent over from Canada by her father, Nelson Skalbania, to run the firm, has returned home amid a bitter row involving her father's company, Wildrose, and its minority shareholders, the Aquilini family. The esoteric row could well bury poor old Norton under a pile of writs - unless Mr Blore steps in and buys himself a monopoly of British motorcycle manufacturing.

(Photograph omitted)

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