UK appliance giant Alba plans massive Australian expansion

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: The UK’s largest electrical appliance company, Alba PLC, has set its sights on the Australian market and will use its local subsidiary Bush Australia to introduce a raft of brands across numerous categories including cooking, small appliances, personal care, telecommunications and audio visual.

Alba has installed a local managing director for Bush Australia, Daniel Todd, who recently arrived from the UK to investigate and oversee the introduction of brands from UK giant’s portfolio.

“I am bringing Alba’s knowledge to Australia, we will be looking at launching brands whether they already exist in the Alba portfolio or whether we come up with new ones,” said Todd.

Alba’s collection of brands includes Grundig, Ministry of Sound, Bush and Goodmans audio visual products, Alba and Bush branded small appliances, Hinari micorwaves, Anthony Worral-Thompson cooking appliances, NTL phones, JCB hardware products and Nicki Clarke hair dryers and straighteners.

Some of these will be renamed for introduction in the Australian market, said Todd.

“In cookware we have a very popular brand in the UK, Anthony Worral-Thompson – he is a very famous chef, but the brand will not work here because nobody knows who he is. The point is that we need to take the knowledge, twist it in an Australian way and see what happens,” he said.

Bush Australia was established last year to distribute floorcare products and has been operating out of the Grundig Australia office at Newington in Sydney, and will continue to do so under the expanded structure. Todd will work alongside Grundig Australia sales and marketing director, Brian Rodgers.

“There are now two businesses operating here: one is Grundig Australia and the other is Bush Australia, but the reality is that we are using each others resources and abilities to do the job. At the end of the day there is no division here between Bush and Grundig, and there are going to be huge benefits here for the Grundig brand,” said Rodgers.

Alba is the UK’s largest company is terms of product sales volume selling one million TVs, two million mp3 players and a million microwaves in the UK each year, and has hundreds of product managers and designers across the world.

The company’s strategy includes buying brands, such as the Grundig acquisition, and growing them through company controlled product design and manufacturing.

“We’re not an off the shelf buying company, we tend to find the manufacturers and, whether they design it or we design it, they do it to our specifications. In the UK we are working with lots of very famous design companies,” said Todd.

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