EXCLUSIVE: Loewe TV, Indi Appointment Made Behind Qualifi’s Back
The decision to award Melbourne based Indi Imports with the distribution rights for Loewe TV’s follows a “Topsy Turvey” ride for the German TV brand in Australia, who in 2013 as Full HD TV’s were taking off filed for ‘Insolvency Protection”.
The brand that was originally sold by International Dynamics who at the time were selling more than 20,000 units of the European TV a year up against the likes of Grundig and Blaupunkt”.
This week Paul Riachi the CEO of new distributor Indi Imports revealed that he signed a deal to distribute the Loewe brand back in February 2017.
Despite the success under International Dynamics, the brand was suddenly taken from the Alex Encel owned Company and given to Sydney based Audio Products Australia, who after struggling with the brand for several years, negotiated with Melbourne based Qualifi to not only take over the brand but the entire APA consumer division.
Michael Henriksen said that “When Qualifi took over APG’s consumer electronics division in July 2013 Loewe was part of the deal. Having had some early experiences with Marantz Plasmas in 2003-2006 and later sub-distribution of Philips LCD TVs in 2008-2010 we had learned that distributing TV’s in Australia is not for the fainthearted” he said.
“We later realised that we had inherited APG’s 5-year warranty obligations on Loewe. This was further exacerbated when Loewe Germany filed for bankruptcy in October 2013 – a few months after we took over distribution”.
Henriksen said that this cost Qualifi “considerable amounts of money” as his Company could not get spare parts and had to replace several TV ‘s with new models.
He said, “Earlier this year we came to the conclusion that we could not do justice to some of the smaller brands we represented, as they were kind of in the ‘shadow’ of our main brands from Sound United, Klipsch Group, CoreBrands and Blustream”.
“As a result, we decided to find “more suitable homes” for some of these brands and work closely with our suppliers to help them out. AKG, Tannoy, URC are no longer with Qualifi”.
“For example, with Wireworld we negotiated the transition to Canohm with the approval of Wireworld and its owners”.
“We then decided that as the TV distribution business requires a special business model that Loewe brand was also not for us.
“We informed Loewe’s export manager Ulf Kaempfer back in March this year that we would exit the TV market and offered to help them find a new partner”.
Henriksen said he was not told that Loewe had already by this stage signed a deal with Indi Imports.
Shortly after this decision was taken Henriksen held discussions with Canohm to possibly take the brand. Robert Costello from Canohm was “Interested”.
“Robert and I came to an agreement for Canohm to take over our stock, spare parts and look after all past warranty obligations if Loewe would approve of the transition”.
He added “Initially Ulf Kaempfer the International Sales Manager for the brand was positive to the idea and impressed with Canohm’s company profile”
“We continued to bring in stock to support the demand and service our Loewe dealers. Loewe did not seem to be in a rush and wanted to meet with Robert and one of Canohm’s owners, which was arranged at the recent IFA expo in Berlin 4 weeks ago, before the deal could be signed by Loewe”.
“When Qualifi placed another 40′ container order 4 weeks ago Loewe turned down the order”.