Brake manufacturer Brembo continues to grow, with announcement it’s just purchased the Barcelona-based J. Juan Group.
J. Juan isn’t a huge name in North America—most riders in the US and Canada have probably never heard of the company. However, it’s a serious player in Europe’s moto manufacturing scene, making brake components in three Spanish plants and one Chinese plant. J. Juan specializes in metallic braided brake hoses, and has a particular focus on motorcycles, especially trials bikes. Supposedly, this motorcycle business is particularly attractive to the bigwigs at Brembo.
Now, Brembo owns the company, announcing its purchase the last week of April. Brembo says it’s paying roughly €70 million for J. Juan, pending approval by Euro anti-trust bodies. That’s expected to happen in the second half of 2021, unless the regulators kick up a fuss.
Why would anti-trust regulators care? In late 2020, Brembo also purchased SBS Brakes. Brembo also owns ByBren. This India-based subsidiary manufacturers lower-cost braking systems, common on bikes the Euro OEMs have built in that country.
In other words, Brembo is basically taking over the braking world, and the J. Juan acquisition is just a sign of the times. That’s especially true when you consider how Europe’s smaller moto-parts manufacturers have all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Europe’s big-name OEMs (Ducati, BMW, Yamaha Europe, etc.) don’t go out of their way to publicize it, but many of their bikes’ components are made by smaller companies based in the region (particularly Spain and Italy). J. Juan is a good example of this; so is Brembo, albeit on a much larger scale. With COVID-19 causing problems for smaller third-party manufacturers, larger competitors like Brembo see opportunities to strengthen their own market position. Family-run factories are out, multi-continent conglomerates are in; J. Juan already started down this road with its Chinese factory, and the sale to Brembo is just the next chapter in this globalization saga. What will it mean for consumers? Hopefully better quality and lower prices, but that’s not always a guarantee of the capitalist system.