Backyard power struggle ends in court with Nylex receiving a hosing

By Martin Vedris

DANDENONG, VIC: Regional retailers often cross paths with outdoor products and city retailers will stock outdoor products such as electric trimmers, mowers and blowers. So it might be interesting to know the outcome of a recent battle for the Aussie backyard.

Two household names in garden products, Gardena and Nylex, have parted ways, with Gardena, which was purchased in 2007 by the international Husqvarna group (which incidentally no longer owns the famous motorbike and sewing machine businesses of the same name), successfully suing its former Australian distributer, Nylex, for breach of contract obligations.

Nylex had distributed Gardena in Australia for so long, the two names had become synonymous with one another. However, Husqvarna has launched a new consumer division in Australia and will distribute its own consumer outdoor brands, which include Gardena hoses and fittings, Flymo lawn mowers, McCulloch power tools, Poulan power tools, Weed Eater and Talon tools.

The decision by Husqvarna to bring Gardena back in house involved a contracted agreement for Nylex to continue solely distributing Gardena to the market until the end of December 2008. Nylex allegedly admitted to introducing a competitive product range and subsequently Gardena was reportedly awarded costs by Justice Lindsay Foster of the Federal Court of Australia on 7 November.

In a statement, Husqvarna said it was awarded costs from Nylex and that another November court date has been set to determine a further claim for damages.

Husqvarna Consumer Products Australia is part of Husqvarna AB, a 300-year old Swedish company with a portfolio of outdoor products and 2007 worldwide sales of $6 billion.

Husqvarna’s consumer electric power tools such as Flymo, McCulloch, Poulan, Weed Eater and Talon are sold through electrical retailers. The newly formed Husqvarna Consumer Products Australia is seeking to expand its distribution through electrical stores such as Harvey Norman, Retravision, Clive Peeters, Betta Electrical and Bing Lee.

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