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Hills heeds Amber warning signal

Hills heeds Amber warning signal
David Lenz

Hills heeds Amber warning signal


The rumours that Hills was in the process of downscaling its AV operations during Integrate 2019 have now been put to rest following the announcement that Amber Technology Limited has agreed terms to acquire the Hills Audio Visual (AV) business. Although the sale is subject to final approval by Amber Technology shareholders, it is expected to be completed in early December.

Under the terms of the agreement, the majority of AV personnel – including sales, business development, product management and technical staff – will transfer to Sydney-based Amber Technology. In addition, the majority of AV brands distributed by Hills in Australia and New Zealand will transfer to Amber Technology. Unconfirmed at present, a reliable Pro AVL Asia source has cited that Community will be distributed by Jands from 1 January 2020.

Hills’ decision to exit the AV business follows a strategic and operational review that recommended Hills focus on its Health division and its larger security and technical services Distribution division where it enjoys a strong market leadership position. Hills MD and CEO David Lenz commented that the sale to Amber Technology, with its sole focus on the AV industry, and more than 30 years of experience, was a positive outcome for the employees, customers and suppliers of the Hills AV business. ‘Hills has a long history of participation in the AV markets in Australia and New Zealand,’ he explained. ‘Our future lies in the health, technical services and security technology sectors, and so we are very pleased to have found a new opportunity for our AV colleagues, customers and suppliers at Amber Technology.’

Amber Technology MD Peter Amos said the company was looking forward to merging the Hills AV business into its existing Integrated Solutions division. ‘We look forward to welcoming the Hills staff into our company, the brands represented by Hills into our portfolio and many new customers into a relationship with Amber Technology,’ he said. ‘We are 100% focused on serving the AV markets in Australia and New Zealand, and this is a wonderful opportunity for us to bring together two passionate and professional teams to create a stronger organisation that will better serve our customers and manufacturer partners.’

Following the acquisition of Audio Telex and Australian Monitor in 2005, the shareholder-based Hills has lost brands, top employees and market share at an unprecedented rate. The merging of APG into Hills in 2014 was a disastrous business transaction in which most of the brands – and many employees – sought the sanctuary of new distributors including Audio Brands and Australis Music Group. The Hills shares are currently valued at AUS$0.20 on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), having once peaked at $6.92 in 2007.

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