Karel de Piere (pictured) has acquired ownership of the Belgium-based sales companies, writes David Davies. A prime mover in the Ampco Flashlight Group for more than 17 years, de Piere took control of former Group companies Ampco Belgium and Candela with effect from 1 January.
As MD of Ampco Belgium and Candela, de Piere - who no longer has shares in Ampco Flashlight - will focus exclusively on professional audio and lighting sales; the companies will not operate in the rental market.
Co-operation between Ampco Belgium and Candela and the Ampco Flashlight Group will continue as before, with all arrangements between them remaining in place "to serve the best interests of clients, manufacturers and both parties".
de Piere told II: "This decision has to be placed in the context of a more long-term vision. It is my opinion that the currently applied distribution models were ready for a redesign. My choice to make the Belgian sales companies independent is necessary to be able to implement my future plans in sales. The coming year will make this move more clear, and we will keep you informed!"
In terms of the general prospects for audio sales this year, he says that 2010 "will still be a difficult year, but I believe it will be better than 2009. There is enough good business to be taken, especially if one is able and willing to invest and in a position to react accurately. If you listen to the market's needs and are capable of offering creative and efficient solutions, the business will follow. But due to the economic conditions the market is more demanding than ever before. Logically, sales companies will have to be very performance-driven to earn their market share. But as many people know, I like looking forward and love a challenge."
Dick van Berkum, chairman and CEO of the Ampco Flashlight Group, added: "We are sorry to see Karel leaving our group as he has made a large contribution to the growth of Ampco Flashlight over the past 17 years. Since he knows Ampco Belgium and Candela so well, we are confident he is the right man for the future of these companies, their clients and manufacturers. We wish Karel all the best with the further development of these businesses."
The Ampco Flashlight Group's audio, lighting and video sales activities will continue to be developed in Europe through TM Audio, Lightco and Pixelsource in the Netherlands, Paradigma in Romania and Atlantic Audio in Germany. The group will also continue to grow its audio, lighting and rigging rental production and technology companies across Europe, led by Ampco and Flashlight in the Netherlands, Flashlight/APR in Belgium and Paradigma in Romania.