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Model train firm Hornby today said it had struck a £7.5 million deal to buy Corgi, one of the world's oldest makers of model trains, cars and buses.

The Corgi brand dates back to 1956. Its toys - such as James Bond's iconic Aston Martin DB5 - sold millions at their peak, and have become prized collectors' items.

Hornby said Leicester-based Corgi would sit alongside its existing hobbies business, which includes Scalextric slot car racing, Airfix models and Humbrol paints.

Hornby chief executive Frank Martin said: "It is a fantastic brand and has a superb reputation worldwide. We intend to build on the brand's super heritage and invest to build its premier position in the market."

Corgi was originally created by the Mettoy company, which began making pressed metal toys in Northampton in the 1930s.

Other famous toys in its heyday included the Batmobile and the Lotus John Player Special Formula One car, while it also makes models of commercial vehicles such as Eddie Stobart trucks.

Included in the deal is Corgi's own model railway brand, Bassett-Lowke, which is more than 100 years old and caters for high-spending model train enthusiasts. Bassett-Lowke's Flying Scotsman costs £699.

Corgi was sold to US giant Mattel in 1990, before a management buy-out in 1995. It was bought by Hong Kong-based model-maker Zindart in 1999.

Corgi recently moved production to the Far East to cut costs but failed to make a profit last year despite sales of around £6.5 million.

Hornby plans to strengthen Corgi's product range as well as boost the marketing and distribution of its toys.

The company will retain "key" Corgi staff - taking on 10 in Leicester, four in Hong Kong and one in the US - but would not comment on potential job losses.

Margate-based Hornby has recently been hit by delays in Far East shipments and a spending slowdown in the UK, which it warned would leave earnings for the year to March 31 slightly lower than expected.

The company is expecting pre-tax profits of between £8.75 million and £9 million, compared to market estimates of £9.2 million.
 

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I've just had a quick browse of the Corgi site and the scale seems to be mostly 1/50. I doubt if Hornby would produce new 1/76 molds quite yet.
 

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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 1 May 2008, 23:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I wonder if they will continue to get their model vehicles from Oxford die cast if they now own Corgi?
Probably not worth their while with tooling costs for which is a relatively small market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 1 May 2008, 22:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I wonder if they will continue to get their model vehicles from Oxford die cast if they now own Corgi?

In the short term probably, although most of Corgi models are 1/50 they also produce the Trackside range, mostly of trucks, but with a few vans and cars. These are nominally 1/76 (but some are I feel a tadge overscale).

I shall watch this with interest - will the Trackside range de rebranded as SkaleAutos?

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Interesting deal. What's next... Subbuteo?

I was out yesterday so apologies to all those that posted this story in the news and didn't see it come up straight away. I've merged a couple of posts and deleted a couple of double-posts and added and image to the top post for the news story.
 

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Hornby seem to be buying an awful lot of companies. Are they biting off more than they can chew? Will they go the way of Dunbee-Combex-Marx I wonder?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 6 May 2008, 11:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>7.5m seems like alot for Corgi to me.

I don't think so, Corgi is after all an operational company, their machine tools are in fully serviceable condition, and there are a lot of them, on top of which there is the small matter of £800.000 worth of stock included. not to mention good will etc.

Seems quite reasonable when compared with what was paid for Lima.

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Corgi also make 1.76 scale Model Trucks in their "Road Scene" range. I have got 5 of them at the moment and they are well suited against 00 models. The 1/76th scale models are smaller versions of the 1.50 scale models, detail exactly same, same design etc, just smaller.
I visit a Corgi forum and there is mention Hornby are going to invest in new tooling into the truck range, good or bad I dont know as no info as to what scale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 6 May 2008, 22:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>They also do a nice line in 1/76 aeroplanes.

Do you know what - I completely forgot about the Aircraft range, some of which are very attractive. Incidentallythe 1/76 are called "Trackside" and some are massively overscale!

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Looks like they have some good stuff to compliment railways, but at the end of the day Hornby are profit & shareholder driven so I think that we will see continued expansion in the hobby sector.
 

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Nobody speculating about what Hornby might do with the O gauge brand they have acquired? There must be some appealing prospects for Hornby to reuse research already done for OO models to expand the O range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
QUOTE (34C @ 7 May 2008, 08:36) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Nobody speculating about what Hornby might do with the O gauge brand they have acquired? .

A good point - especially as Lima did a range of O gauge, class 33, LMS 4F, and MK1 coaches plus an assortment of goods wagons. Then there was the continental O as well.

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corgi also do the 1/50 scale traction engines and 1/76 ish i think scale buses and cars to compliment the railways
 

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QUOTE (millsie @ 9 May 2008, 10:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>1/76 ish i think scale buses and cars to compliment the railways

The buses are issued under the 'Original Omnibus Company' (OOC) title and are indeed 1/76. Generally speaking they are very good, if quite expensive, models. Detais include etched wipers, mirrors and tree guards (where applicable). Vehicles available span the period from the 1930's to date.

They are made to a far higher standard than the 'Trackside' range.

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