Philips has announced that it is to discontinue the Pronto control brand. After unsuccessfully attempting to relocate manufacturing to the Far East or to find other strategic options for the brand, it is ceasing Pronto-related activities at Leuven in Belgium. The company is offering a ‘last-time buy opportunity” that ends on 29 November – although it says service items will remain in stock beyond this date.
The news was communicated in a letter to business partners dated 29 October, which said: “In December 2009, Philips announced the intention to relocate some of its existing remote control activities in Leuven, Belgium to Asia. At the same time, the intention was communicated to investigate alternative strategic options for the Pronto business, as this activity no longer fits with the Philips strategy. Following thorough research, no suitable partner was found for the acquisition of these activities. As such, Philips confirms today that it will discontinue the Pronto product line and related activities.”
Stuart Tickle, managing director of AWE Europe, which distributes the brand exclusively in the UK, commented: “AWE had no prior knowledge of this decision and is both surprised and disappointed by the Philips decision to close such a successful division, especially with the recent exciting product and software development paving the way for a strong future. It is clear from the statement that the decision was taken at a senior board level outside of the Pronto team, and is related to a wider divisional restructure rather than a reflection on the Pronto range itself.”
Tickle continued: “It is not yet clear if this is the end of Pronto, as there is apparently new interest from various parties regarding a possible buyout.”
He added that Philips Pronto “forms a minority of our overall business” and so the move did not represent any undue pressures on AWE’s business. “Installers will also be pleased to know that we are in conversations with two major control solution brands and it is our intention to continue to distribute on an exclusive basis a leading control product,” he added. “We are confident that we will be able to give installers certainty on future developments in control products offered by AWE at the end of November.”