By Staff Writer

SYDNEY: Corded and wireless headset manufacturer and owner of the Jabra brand, GN announced yesterday that they are combining their two headset businesses to create the world’s largest manufacturer of headsets for hands-free communication.

The new business area will employ about 1,800 people and generate revenues for 2006 of approximately $A591 million in the former GN Mobile and at least 1.8bn $A394 million in the former GN Netcom.  
“Some years ago, we set out our vision for the future; one in which everyone will be using wireless headsets whether they’re in the office, at home or on the move,” said GN Netcom president, Hans Henrik Lund.

“Today’s announcement is part of the changes we are implementing in order to make our vision a reality.”

In 2005, GN Netcom and GN Mobile reached the number one position with a global market share of 35 per cent, manufacturing a total of 25 million headsets, amplifiers and other accessories, an increase of 50 per cent from 2004.

The products were sold under GN’s own brands, Jabra and GN Netcom, as well as direct to global mobile phone manufacturers under OEM contracts.

To date, GN Netcom and GN Mobile have operated separate sales, marketing and development departments while sharing the same production, and supply chain functions as well as corporate functions such as HR, Finance and IT.

GN Netcom has focused primarily on selling solutions to professional users in offices and contact centres while GN Mobile has concentrated on the mobile consumer market.

Jabra and GN Netcom products are distributed through 90,000 sales channels worldwide, including carriers and system integrators as well as leading consumer electronics chains and mobile phone specialists.

According to GN, joining forces will enable the new company to sustain high growth and innovation leadership.

“Combining our two business areas will help us become an even more effective organisation. We will take advantage of our strong market presence and brands and track record in innovation,” said Lund.

“It will also help us meet the needs of our distributors and retailers who are increasingly demanding single-point access to our headsets and other products,” he said.

According to data obtained by GN, the global market for headsets continues to boom and is expected to grow by around 25 percent per annum until 2010.

“This is primarily driven by consumers using Bluetooth enabled products in a wide variety of ways including fixed line and mobile phones, MP3 players and portable games,” the company said in a statement.