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B&O Appoints New CEO As Company Sinks Into A Hole

Financially strapped Hi Fi Company Bang & Olufsen, who has not made a full year profit for three years, has appointed a new CEO, the move comes days after the opening of a new flagship store in Melbourne.

Former Danish telecom executive Henrik Clausen will replace Tue Mantoni, who has been CEO since March 2011.

The Danish Company whose direct sell shops are run in Australia by Emerald Group Investments, has been under siege as consumers move to new wireless sound systems instead of the high priced B&O sound systems.

They are also struggling in the TV market as Companies like Samsung and LG with their OLED TV technology deliver a new generation of premium TV’s.

Back in 2012 the Company tried to come down market with their portable B&O Play system, at the time Company executives told ChannelNews that they were confident that mass retailers such as JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman would range the portable product and that they were confident that the B&O Play range would take on products from Bose and Sonos.

This did not happen with JB Hi Fi choosing to cut an exclusive deal with Bose to range their products over the Bang & Olufsen range.Bang & Olufsen

The problem for B&O is that the European Company that has shops in most States of Australia hasn’t posted a full-year profit for the past three years. In recent months, the luxury audio/video company sold off its automotive audio unit to Harman, which also secured the right to use the B&O name on OEM sound systems.

B&O also recently announced plans to begin sourcing OLED TVs from LG to achieve scale and improve long-term profitability.

The company also divested its ICEpower OEM audio-amplifier business.

During the first nine months of its current fiscal year, B&O posted a net loss of $20 million, down from the year-ago loss of $33.2 million, despite a sales gain of 16.6 percent to$394.9 million.

North American revenue fell in the third quarter by 5.6 percent, this is a market that B&O has been dependant on to deliver sales growth.

The leadership change follows a recent announcement that B&O terminated discussions with Sparkle Roll to take over the publicly held company.

Sparkle Roll is led by the head of B&O’s distributor in Asia.

B&O said it called off the talks because, despite Sparke Roll’s interest, “Sparkle Roll has not committed to launch a tender offer for all shares in Bang & Olufsen and has not been able to substantiate its ability to launch such a tender offer.”

Analysts claim that the Danish company, who is trying to push into the custom installation market in Australia selling proprietary B&O products is struggling because their core market of consumers is “dying off”.

The manufacturer has struggled to win buyers for its consumer products as prices for flat-screen televisions tumble and more people listen to music on the go on their smartphones or via a networked device at home.

Morten Imsgard, an analyst at Sydbank A/S said “B&O shareholders should be more worried after this quarter than they were in the previous one.”

The company, founded 90 years ago, is also struggling to roll out new products like the BeoSound Moment digital music hub due to innovation by Companies such as Samsung who is now delivering top end TV’s and cutting edge sound bars that incorporate technology such as Dolby Atmos.

The company last paid a dividend for 2008.

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