I heard these rumours last week, and was flat-out told that it wasn't happening, but Current is reporting that NEC will be announcing this afternoon that they are pulling out of the consumer retail market in Australia, as well as closing their Sydney office and cutting staff. However, they will be keeping their business systems division.
UPDATE: It's official. Announcement is below the fold.That means that NEC TVs, home theatre products, whitegoods, and air conditioning products will all be going. This will hit the local TV market especially hard, considering we've already lost Hitachi, Philips and Fujitsu over the past 18 months, and leaves us with only a handful of major players and a few other smaller, cheaper brands.
We'll hopefully have more on this as it develops later today... UPDATE: Here's the official announcement.
NEC Australia announces restructure to focus on business and services market
15 January 2008 - Melbourne - NEC Australia today announced a strategic restructure of its local business to focus solely on its core ICT/network communication solutions and services with a greater emphasis on delivering service and consultancy to its business and government customers. The move comes in response to rapidly changing market conditions in retail, the weakening Australian Dollar, and is in line with a focus of its resources and energies on the business and government markets.
As a result of the restructure, NEC Australia will cease its retail offerings as of 1st March 2009 including whitegoods, consumer appliances, home entertainment as well as consumer LCD and Plasma TVs.
Commercial displays, including digital signage and business projectors, are unaffected by the restructure and NEC will continue to sell this range to the business market via its Display Solutions Division.
Mr Wataru Takeuchi, Managing Director, NEC Australia said: "This move forms part of our strategic evolution towards redefining NEC Australia as a business services company. As such, a decision has been made to withdraw our retail products in order to focus our resources and energy on our key strengths which are our business offerings and our Research and Development capabilities."
NEC Australia will continue to offer its ongoing support to existing customers by honouring its warranty and extended support agreements.
The restructure will result in approximately 200 staff leaving the business by the end of March through a combination of voluntary and compulsory redundancies, with the majority coming from the Retail division.