Iconic Hills Hoist under new ownership

(Australian Associated Press)

Hills will no longer make and sell the Hills Hoist but the iconic Aussie clothesline will live on under new ownership.

Home living products business AMES Australasia, which already owns brands including Cyclone, Nylex and Northcote Pottery, has agreed to buy the Hills Home Living (HHL) business from Hills and to invest in it.

Hills had been looking to offload its home living products after its licensing deal with Woolworths was ended as the supermarket giant prepared its Masters hardware chain for closure last year.

Hills chief executive David Lenz said a strategic review found it was no longer viable to make and sell home living products.

“The Hills of today is a value added distributor of technology products and services and the company is focused on delivering security and surveillance solutions, audio visual, IT, communications and health solutions. It is important that we remain focused on our core business activities,” he said in a statement.

AMES will acquire tooling equipment and trademarks not used by Hills and said it plans to revitalise a range that includes clotheslines and laundry products.

“We consider this a tremendous development for our business, and have great confidence that the many customers, employees and suppliers of Hills will enjoy the benefits of this new ownership structure,” Ames Australasia chief executive Simon Hupfeld said

Hills expects the sale to boost earnings in the first half of the the 2017 financial year, and Mr Lenz said it would more than offset the weaker trading results of its Hills Building Technologies (HBT) business.

“Even with an improved second quarter for the HBT business, this has not made up for the underperformance of the HBT business in the first quarter of FY17 as outlined at our AGM in November,” Mr Lenz said.

Hills shares closed 3.5 cents, or 7.61 per cent, lower at 42.5 cents against the backdrop of a strong overall market.


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