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Sennheiser CEOs: "Australia Is An Important Market"

By Oonagh Reidy | Monday | 10/02/2014

German brand eyes Australian expansion, as it opens new OZ subsidiary

Sennheiser's CEOs, Dr. Andreas and Daniel Sennheiser were in Sydney last week to mark the official opening of Sennheiser Australia, having taken over local distributor Syntec. 

To mark the occasion, a mammoth party was held at Toronga Zoo on Friday, with James Morrison and Craig Calhoun pumping out the music on the night using Sennheiser's D9000 wireless system (of course). 

"The region is very interesting for us, Australia is a very premium market - customers are very much looking for quality, substance,"  Daniel Sennheiser, Co-CEO told CN in an interview.  

In the last three years, the audio giant has recorded major growth in the Asian Pacific region. And it clearly wants to keep the momentum up.

The buyout of Syntec will allow the German audio brand to strengthen its position in Asia-Pacific and better reach local customers. When asked about adding additional channel partners, Sennheiser Australia MD, Bjorn Rennemo Henriksen said, "we're well covered in terms of dealer networks already," by major chains including JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith and AV specialists. 

The level of sophistication is quite high in Australia so as a premium supplier of audio we're in a good position, says Daniel Sennheiser. 

When asked about future expansion, he said "we are a market leader already with Syntec so believe we can build on that in the future."

"We've been top headphone brand in Australia for many, many years says and we're committed to staying there."  

"Recently with addition of lifestyle headphones that share has been diluted", Sennheiser admits, with the likes of Beats by Dr. Dre, and Soul headphones appealing to the fashion conscious Gen Y willing to spend big bucks. 

But "we've learnt to play in that (lifestyle) field and twist it in a way that makes sense for Sennheiser, with real material, real leather and steel," he says, pointing to the Momentum range.  The German audio giant is inventor of the Hi-Fi headphone in 1968, and is still one of the strongholds of the company today.

Sennheiser gear is "not mass market", and unlike some other competitors, you won't see them in a supermarket or petrol station. 

Consumer audio, including headphones, makes up over half of the company's total turnover rising over E200m to E584.4 m (A$888.4m)  in 2012, reflecting the massive surge in demand for wireless, noise cancelling headphones, headsets and wireless audio.   

Integrated Systems has "the biggest growth potential" and will be a big focus in the future, says Co- CEO Andreas Sennheiser. Pro AV is also another important segment. 

Sennheiser Australia is the German company's 16th distribution subsidiary, and the takeover of Syntec "demonstrates the international orientation of the parent company" established by the Sennhieser brothers grandfather Fritz, over 70 years ago. 

Its been operating as an independent distribution subsidiary of Sennheiser since September, with Bjorn Rennemo Henriksen, Managing Director, at the helm. The Momentum-maker is in more than 60 countries including Britain, Hong Kong and US.  

The entire Syntec team came on board after the buyout, "its a very strong team, they know the market and customers," he says. 

They're now getting one step close to the user, and, it allows (the subsidary) to get more information faster from the factory. 

"This gives us more power to leverage everything Sennhieser can do into the market," says Rennemo Henriksen. 

So, watch this space. 

Locally, it has a network of dealerships and sales reps in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney (headquarters), Melbourne, and Adelaide, operational office in Auckland (New Zealand). 

Read the full interview with Sennheiser Co-CEO's and MD, tomorrow 

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