By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: The BSR Group, owners of the Betta and Chandlers brands, is currently gearing up for its national conference, which will be held next month in Malaysia. The theme for the 2009 meeting is “Maximising Your Assets”.

Ian Brown, managing director of BSR, gave an overview of what Betta’s retailers and supply partners can expect when its congress meets at Kota Kinabalu between 17-21 July 2009.

“We’ll have our retailers and our supplier partners meeting at Kota Kinabalu, in Malaysian Borneo at the Sutera Harbour resort. Our theme for that conference is ‘Maximising Your Assets’,” said Brown.

“It’s a 4-day conference, from 17 to 21 July, and we’ll be having our national conference and our annual general meeting during that period. We get a high percentage of franchisees and we do get all our supporting suppliers there.”

Brown said that they’re will be a number of presentations, though he admitted he could not match the chutzpah of his rivals Harvey Norman, who persuaded former Prime Minister John Howard, who famously lost his seat in the Coalition’s crushing 2007 landslide election defeat, to speak at its recent global conference in Sydney.

“They’ll be presentations from the chairman of our group, Gary Thyer. I’ll be doing a presentation as well on the strategy and operations of our company, and also they’ll be four separate breakout sessions conducted by the staff of BSR in all category areas.”

“They’ll also be presentations at the conference by all our supporting suppliers, they’ll be involved at some stage during the conference.”

When asked for the identity of the keynote speaker, Brown was elusive.

“We have a special guest, but we’re keeping it a surprise. [He or she is] quite a well known speaker.”