B&M. How do you see the future for this coaster company? Has SF finally made them wake up?

Sunday, April 23, 2006 5:47 AM
With Shapiro stating that big 20 plus million dollar coasters are pretty much done with in the SF chain, do you think B&M is now making preparations to deal with this loss of business?

Six Flags has been pretty much B&M's most loyal and biggest customer. How do you feel they will structure themselves to accept that SF will no longer be buying their products at a feverish pace?

I will say that B&M has finally tapped back into the CF market recently which is a good thing. However, that still won't be enough. Could this be the beginning of B&M trying to sell cheaper coasters, or possibly creating coasters that appeal to families with lower height restrictions? Could B&M try to market their product harder to the Paramount chain of parks?

I am not to familiar on how their business is overseas but unlike Intamin and Vekoma, they don't seem to be dominating the market across the pond.

Seems to me that this could be an interesting next few years with how B&M keeps their business going.

Your thoughts.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 7:41 AM
To make a point on their overseas trade-

Tussauds are B&M lovers. nemesis, oblivion, air, inferno, and thats just 2 parks. And they are a chain that does not stop building coasters, on average each park gets a 'biggie' every 3/4 years.

They are the only ones in the UK.

Black Mamba is being built in Germany- looks great

Spain has some 3 i think offthe top of my head

Italy has a couple

Japan has a couple,

Kuwait has one

China has some now.

They are everywhere. They will continue to be built when parks want to spend a bit more to get the best quality (build and reliabilty) coaster out there.

But yes you are right, i dont think 6 flags will be ordering nearly as many as in the past, but then the coaster market is saturated in the states, plenty more growth in Europe, Asia and the Middle east.

Would love to see their balance books?? Or of any coaster company. Is it an industry that makes a lot of cash? Anyone?

Sunday, April 23, 2006 7:52 AM
I think "waking up" sounds a bit tabloid-esque. But I am sure that the proposed change at SF will definately affect their output.

Actually, I think that B&M had an exceptionally good year with opening at least six coasters worldwide (the ones that I can think of). 50% of those were bought by SF, thats a lot.

They still sell to CF, Bush, Tussaud and independent parks all over the world. This year they will open a Flyer in China, which is THE booming market at the moment. Intamin is selling to Asia like mad and I guess that B&M can advance their business there as well.

Lets not forget that B&M is not a factory, its just an office with a few employees. Unlike "real" manufacturers they don´t have to keep their plants occupied on a steady basis. Thats what ruined Vekoma, Giovanola, Zierer, Schwarzkopf and others at one point or another. I guess that even with three sold coasters each year, Walter and Claude can live quite comfortably.

There will always be a market for B&M as long as parks want reliable, massive rides which appeal to the riders and the spectators alike.

It remains to be seen which companies will profit from SFs new plans. Will they run to Zamperla or Pro-Fun?

On the other hand, take a look at all the applauded manufacturers who offer new (alledgedly) cheaper or smaller products, did they make an impact in the USA? At the moment it seems that Gerstlauer, Maurer and new Vekoma products have not really been embraced by the american parks.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 7:56 AM
^^^As far as profit margins and stuff, I've never seen hard numbers, but I've seen some pretty solid speculation that while the guys from B&M may not be 100% rolling in dough (at least not from the coasters) they are more than likely doing very, very well for themselves.

As far as SF goes, B&M already knows what's on the docket, at least for the next couple of years. Coasters are planned well in advance, so if there truly is little to no orders coming in from SF, and if that really is going to negatively impact their bottom line, then B&M should feel free to do what they can to woo SF back into the buying mood. Diversifing the product line would probably be a good place to start.

EDIT Sorry, combining two posts here.

kitsch-transporter said:
At the moment it seems that Gerstlauer, Maurer and new Vekoma products have not really been embraced by the american parks.

There seems to be a handful of family coasters, spinning coasters, and such being built in this country every year by these companies, and I'm sure Vekoma did pretty well with Everest. Some of these may not be the most high profile rides but I'm sure these companies do pretty well on a lot of the smaller more family oriented projects.

Don't forget Maurer also seems to be doing pretty well with their X-Car concept, with one in magic Springs, and possibly one at Dollywood in the future. *** Edited 4/23/2006 12:06:19 PM UTC by matt.***

Sunday, April 23, 2006 9:49 AM
I suspect the firm itself has very low overhead, since they don't do any of the manufacturing themselves. Even from an R&D perspective, they don't do a lot that I'd call new from year to year, aside from little tweaks in braking systems as of late.
Sunday, April 23, 2006 11:52 AM
To illustrate the total glamour, the sheer luxurious gold plated palaces in which Walter and Claude reside, just take a look at this:


You can enlarge the pics by clicking. B&M reside in just one floor in this ultra-modern "office tower", alledgedly there are not more than ten people on the constant payroll.

As you can see, the Giovanola (G-Tec) -plant used to be right next to the offices of B&M. Which could help to remind people that Walter and Claude used to be connected with Giovanola and not directly with Intamin. Still a widely spread internet-myth.

If you can´t get enough of office building porn, here are pictures of the Intamin main building in Switzerland:


And the holy grail of randomnes: An Intamin subsidary, somewhere in the German hinterland. YOU CAN SEE GLIMPSES OF THEIR ROCKET COASTER TEST TRACK!!!


That concludes my geeky sunday afternoon travelogue.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 1:00 PM
B&M seems to me like a company that's completely prepared for the reality that their services are not necessarily needed every year. It seems like an operation that was made to be shut down and mothballed until the next order came in with really no impact to standard of living for any of the employees. Considering the complexity of roller coaster engineering, I would assume that any of those 10 or so speculated folks on the payroll could walk into any office and get a job to pay the bills until the next jackpot coaster comes into the B&M offices.

I don't think they'll ever go away, but I also think that simple things like no manufacturing plant, barely any fixed website, small, unassuming office building, low number of full-time employees ... just screams good business planning based on your market to me.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 1:49 PM
Wow...this is the office?


One floor of that sucker can't be too "luxurious"

Sunday, April 23, 2006 8:06 PM
Kitsch excellent finds. I have always been very curious about that.
Sunday, April 23, 2006 8:50 PM
If that is their office, it looks like something left over from Soviet Russia. Maybe they should hire a landscaper. That may spruce the place up a bit. :) *** Edited 4/24/2006 12:51:06 AM UTC by The_Lost_Phantom***
Sunday, April 23, 2006 11:09 PM
They shouldnt lose money that often, they probably arent hit with lawsuits often i think that is more of the parks problem.

The buildings are in Europe, and they are probably just paying rent to own the space in those, and many of europes buildings have been around alot longer than those in the US, and shouldnt be nearly as glamorous. They save money apparently and probably rake in between 150-300 million this year, this is not an exact qoute so dont take it serious, these guys are living well, just not spending a ton of money on the financial end of housing the projects. Im sure more goes into research and development, although it would kinda be interesting to see if they are putting any new ideas out there, because they are living off mainly a few coaster types, but design and theming are the business that keep the rides fresh if i could be honest.

Monday, April 24, 2006 10:15 AM
See, that's the problem, is that there's this American perception that every business has to have some big world headquarters that they own. Even though they build gigantic rides, I think Walter and Claude could probably work out of their homes if they really wanted to!
Monday, April 24, 2006 10:19 AM
Plus it probably ought to be noted that a $20M ride does NOT mean W&C walk away with that much money. It means that's where they START paying off equipment, suppliers, contractors, etc., etc.

Plus they have to pay the landscapers who take care of all those beautiful gardens outside their HQ... ;)

Monday, April 24, 2006 11:15 AM
They probably had to wait for someone to die to get in that "rent controlled" office space. They'd be foolish to let it go. ;)
Monday, April 24, 2006 11:23 AM
Personally, I see B&M going down a path where they'll build Hyrda-sized coasters, at least as far as Six Flags is concerned. Who knows, maybe they'll break into a new genre of coaster for Six Flags. Who can turn down a chain with that much potential?
Monday, April 24, 2006 11:42 AM
I said before that they are pricing themselves out of the small to mid size parks and even some large parks.

However, B&M has always been content to keep building under 6 coasters per year. There is and will always be a market for them worldwide.

Their not in trouble, Far from it.


Monday, April 24, 2006 1:44 PM

Chitown said:
With Shapiro stating that big 20 plus million dollar coasters are pretty much done with in the SF chain, do you think B&M is now making preparations to deal with this loss of business?

How many $20+million coasters does six flags have? If your answer is "not many," then you've hit the nail on the head. How is this affecting B+M? Better yet, does Shapiro's statement even have much relevance?

Monday, April 24, 2006 3:27 PM
It's interesting that you bring this up because I don't think they've ever ventured into family type coasters. I wonder why? Perhaps their success has come from their focus on a small niche instead of diversifying.

They'll probably go with "if it ain't broke" for now. I somehow feel that Shapiro isn't not going to be a customer anymore. And even if he sticks to his promise, as others have pointed out, there are other markets to keep them building...er I mean designing. ;)

Monday, April 24, 2006 4:58 PM
At least we now know B&M might have a future with Sesame Place...
I had no idea Vapor Trail was a B&M invert, I would have actually considered going there...

*before someonebody posts a correction about my stupidity I know its really not and Im mocking a site error *** Edited 4/24/2006 9:01:02 PM UTC by P18***

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:18 PM

DorneyDante said:

Chitown said:
With Shapiro stating that big 20 plus million dollar coasters are pretty much done with in the SF chain, do you think B&M is now making preparations to deal with this loss of business?

How many $20+million coasters does six flags have? If your answer is "not many," then you've hit the nail on the head. How is this affecting B+M? Better yet, does Shapiro's statement even have much relevance?

I think it's a little more than not many.

Nitro, Raging Bull, Three medusas and a scream, Tatsu, Goliath SFMM, SFOT, Kingda Ka, Batwing and X flight and Dominator (Latter two now to CF) El Torro (Im betting it's close and that makes two in two years for that park. Chang, Riddlers Revenge, Superman (Mexico), X.

Im sure Im missing a few. Some of these didn't cost 20 mill at the time built but would now if designed and built.

I can even see SF buying a 20 mill coaster every 5-7 years for it's bigger parks but putting them in at a every year or every other year pace is not gonna happen now.

Chuck, who says at some point you gotta let the rides pay for themselves before going further in the hole.


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