Behringer announced on Friday the formation of BIG, or the Behringer Installation Group, at the company's annual partner event in Zhongshan, China. Heading up the new part of the constantly expanding Behringer empire is Costa Lakoumentas.
Lakoumentas presented an overview of the new product range that BIG will manufacture in addition to the market position they will occupy. He surprised many with images of several of the first products to hit the streets, rumoured to be launched in the summer, which are bereft of the Behringer signature brushed silver look, and instead sport well designed black enclosures that would look just as comfortable in the home or on the shelf in a classy bar as it would in a bog standard install rack.
Additionally, Uli Behringer announced a huge investment in a new manufacturing facility, Behringer City 2, three times larger than the existing factory, which is due to come on stream in 2011. The 700-acre site will feature all of the facilities that are in existence at the current location, with the addition of improved leisure facilities for the 2,700 strong workforce that live on site and substantial space to expand, presumably in the first instance for BIG products.
Next on stage was Midas managing director John Oakley, who addressed the one hundred strong contingent and told of his excitement of the company's recent acquisition by Behringer holding company, the Music Group.
With recent negative press and internet chatter surrounding the change of hands from former owner Bosch, Oakley attempted to allay fears that Midas would be dragged down into Behringer's marketplace. He stressed that the company would continue to utilise the same high quality components and manufacturing processes to build Midas products and would benefit from Behringer's huge buying power. He also was keen to underline that Midas would benefit from additional investment towards research and development through the creation of a centre for excellence in R&D at Midas's headquarters in Kidderminster.
Oakley, who was clearly excited at the prospects and advantages of teaming up with Behringer, also spoke of how the Midas manufacturing team would work with team at Zhongshan to bring some of the skills and knowledge from Midas to its new partner. Oakley stressed that Midas would continue to operate out of the UK, providing the same high quality, innovation and customer support that users of the company's products have come to expect, while some of its manufacturing that currently already happens in China, would move to a new "Midas floor" in the Zhongshan factory along with significant investment in new, high spec automated circuit board manufacturing technology.
Finally, there was no mention of an another hotly rumoured purchase by the Music Group of a pro audio loudspeaker manufacturer; however we were told that, if it did happen, it was far from imminent.