Welcome to MHG

– a leader in Australian manufacturing for over 50 years. Our dedication to quality and excellence, focus on relationships, agility and passion for local industry has seen us not only compete, but thrive in globally competitive markets.

Our History

1967 – 1970

Where it all began

Sydney Water Ski Distributors Pty Ltd was established by Steve Haritos from his personal interest in water skiing as a competitor and involvement in the administration of the Australian Barefoot Water Ski Association.

The company created new export markets for the Australian brand Fred Williams water skis in Asia, South Africa, Europe and USA. The product range expanded to include life jackets, propellers, boat anchors and associated products. It further diversified into non-related products, for example, tallow exports to South Africa. This diversification and entrepreneurship continue to drive the business forward 50 years later.

1970 – 1974

A partnership was born – cars and motorcycles

Mathews Haritos Pty Limited was co-founded by Ken Mathews and Steve Haritos by merging Steve’s export business and Ken’s prestige car import business. The two had met through their involvement in competitive barefoot water skiing.

Ken and Steve acquired land on Parramatta Rd Ashfield and constructed a purpose-built showroom including warehousing and a left to right hand drive conversion facility. The prestige cars were sold directly to high net wealth individuals and wholesaled to interstate car dealers.

They imported prestige cars including the replica Stutz Blackhawk, which featured in a 20-minute segment on Mike Willesee’s ‘A Current Affair’ with wide spread publicity due to Elvis Presley’s ownership of three vehicles in the USA. The business was also successful in purchasing 5 Rolls Royce vehicles from Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel.

The business diversified by introducing ‘Automold’ adhesive body side mouldings to the Australian automotive aftermarket. The product was imported under an exclusive distribution agreement from the USA. Installation and sales of the product took place at new and used car dealers and were serviced by mobile vans throughout Sydney and Brisbane. The business footprint was expanded via distributors in other states throughout Australia. The product range continued to grow to include decals, stripes, roof racks and other exterior decorative products. They were also sold to the retail market.

The partners identified the opportunity to introduce a range of motorcycle helmets, creating the Eldorado brand. The helmets were launched prior to the 1974 introduction of the Federal Government legislation which made wearing of helmets compulsory.

The business acquired land and constructed a purpose-built motorcycle showroom and service facilities to support the opening of a new Honda Motorcycle dealership on Parramatta Rd Five Dock, including accessories and a full-service department.

1974 – 1982

Onwards and upwards

In 1974, Steve and Ken went their separate ways. Steve acquired Ken’s share of the Mathews Haritos Pty Limited (later becoming MHG Corporation Pty Limited) and sold its interest in the prestige cars and motorcycle dealership to Ken. The parting of the ways was an amicable one with both Steve and Ken still in contact to this very day.

Steve identified the opportunity to replace imported products with local manufacture. After researching the local plastic manufacturing industry, MHG acquired a 50% interest in Plastco Australia, a plastic extrusion manufacturing company, and established a technical collaboration agreement with the US inventor company of Automold. They commenced manufacturing of the imported automotive self-adhesive body side mouldings. They achieved pioneer status in Australia for manufacturing and supply of self-adhesive plastic protective body side mouldings to Australian automotive assemblers. The group’s first contract was awarded in 1977 by Chrysler Australia and soon thereafter followed with contracts from Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota.

As part of the import replacement strategy, MHG was the first in Australia to manufacture injection moulded motorcycle helmets. The products were locally designed by MHG engineers. The first product was an open face helmet launched in 1977 and was soon followed by the full-face helmet. The company obtained the Australia Post contract and maintained exclusive supply for two decades until its exit from helmet manufacturing in the late 1990s.

Pioneer status was also achieved in CB radios with the introduction of the Apollo CB Radio range to the Australian market. CB radios became popular in Australia following the very successful Burt Reynolds movie “Smokey and the Bandit” in the late 70’s. Demand continued to outstrip supply for a number of years into the early 80’s, MHG’s success was in managing supply from contracted manufacturers which required monthly visits to Japan.

The group experienced rapid growth and expanded its offices/warehouse location to Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to support its nationwide customers.

1982 – 1990

A period of tremendous growth and expansion into new markets

Post the successful introduction of the CB radios, a strong relationship was established with the US conglomerate General Electric during MHG’s attendance at one of its first Consumer Electronics Shows in the early 80s. MHG was able to negotiate an exclusive distribution for the GE branded consumer electronics products for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

The group looked to expand its markets in the region and entered into a joint venture with the New Zealand publicly listed Lion Nathan Company to distribute GE branded products in New Zealand, during the era when imported goods required special import permits.

The group acquired the balance of shares in the manufacturing business, Plastco Australia, and relocated to new premises in Lakemba NSW to support its growth in manufacturing and distribution.

The group’s diversification strategy was expanding rapidly and additional space was required for its manufacturing and warehousing. In 1985, the group was able to purchase land in Wollongong NSW to construct a purpose built 4,000 m2 head office, manufacturing and distribution facility. The relocation from Lakemba in Sydney’s south west to Wollongong was completed in 1986.

GE’s consumer electronics division was acquired by the French state-owned Thompson Consumer Electronics and this provided the opportunity for the group to expand the GE range of products with the introduction of Telefunken consumer electronics including televisions and video recorders.

During the early 80s, the Federal Government was planning to legislate the introduction of AMPS (analogue) mobile phones in 1987. Steve, as he had done so often before, was quick to recognise the significant opportunity from the successful market in the USA. An exclusive agreement was established with Audiovox Corporation (publicly listed in the USA) to import analogue mobile phone products to Australia. MHG was able to achieve pioneer status as one of only four brands to locally manufacture, assemble and distribute in the Australian market with the launch of Audiovox cellular mobile phones in 1987.

The successful relationship with Audiovox was the catalyst for a joint venture between Audiovox Corporation and MHG. Audiovox Pacific Pty Ltd was established to continue the manufacture and distribution of Audiovox cellular phones and mobile electronics in Australia and New Zealand.

Audiovox Pacific established its New Zealand office and warehouse to satisfy the NZ market which included contracts to supply mobile phones to Telecom NZ.

1990 – 2000

Changes afoot but what’s new?

In 1984, the Government of the day (Labor) introduced “The Button Car Plan” reform for the automotive industry. This was the impetus for MHG’s expansion as a tier one supplier to the industry. The group opened its first manufacturing facility outside of NSW in Tullamarine VIC to support Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ford and GMH. Over the years the group was hugely successful in winning multi-million dollar contracts from all of the local vehicle manufacturers.

Under the Button Car Plan, the automotive industry was rationalising and it was evident that only Victoria and South Australia would retain vehicle assembly plants. The group decided to consolidate its manufacturing plants by relocating its NSW & Victorian plants into a new purpose-built 8,000 m2 facility on a greenfield site in Melton Victoria. The facility was commissioned with state-of-the-art robotic painting, plastic extrusion and injection moulding supporting the remaining automotive assemblers Toyota, Ford and GMH.

The mobile phone industry was rapidly expanding and was moving towards a multiple mobile carrier system with the introduction of Europe’s GSM system. MHG, as part of its diversification strategy, acquired a 50% interest in a Sydney based mobile phone retailer Mobile Express. The group positioned Mobile Express for sale, and sold to publicly listed company Strathfield Car Radios.

The group further diversified by investing in a Ready to Drink (RTD) beverage wholesale business. The business had the exclusive rights to Bass Breweries’ (UK’s largest brewer at the time) RTD ‘Hooch’. The launch was very late to market causing difficulties with distribution and ultimately was unsuccessful.

2000 to 2010

More firsts and an entry into yet another new industry

Notwithstanding the failure of Hooch, the investors acquired a dormant Hotelier’s Licence and went on to develop a venue in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. Verandah Bar & Restaurant opened just after the Sydney 2000 Olympics in Sydney’s Castlereagh St (adjacent to Martin Place). It was an outstanding success. MHG went on to buy out the other investors in 2006 giving it 100% control.

The group expanded its hospitality business by acquiring the Light Brigade Hotel in Woollahra in 2007. The venue was transformed with a complete renovation and repositioning of the product offering. It quickly became known as Sydney’s best live sports venue creating a loyal following of AFL, NRL, Rugby Union, Cricket, Football, Boxing, UFC and Horse Racing fans alike. The venue pioneered the broadcasting of UFC and AFL in Sydney. A fine dining offering was introduced to the venue and was consistently one of the best restaurants in the ultra-competitive Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Its restaurant was awarded one Chef’s Hat in the Good Food Guide awards in the first year of operation.

The rapid growth of large format retail combined with the explosive population growth in Melton influenced the group to develop the land it owned at Melton (70,000 m2). The group’s Melton Gateway large format retail centre pioneered the category in Melton attracting multinational tenants including McDonalds, Chemist Warehouse, The Good Guys, Supercheap Auto, Subway, Anytime Fitness, Woolworth’s Fuel and Repco.

Post the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2007/8, the global automotive industry was rapidly contracting. The group’s long-standing successful relationships with Ford and Toyota brought about significant opportunities during the GFC. To that end, in 2009, Toyota approached MHG to evaluate the acquisition of CSR Viridian’s automotive glass manufacturing operation in North Geelong, Victoria. With the support of the Federal and State Governments, MHG acquired the assets and property from CSR establishing MHG Glass. The business was hugely successful winning multiple supplier and industry awards.

2010 to Present

Transformational change to thrive for future generations

During 2012, Ford commissioned a new USD$600m vehicle assembly plant in Thailand. Based on MHG’s achievements in Australia, Ford approached the group to establish a plant in Thailand to support with plastic injection moulding and painted parts. MHG Thailand was established in October 2012.

In late 2013, the Federal Government’s decision to withdraw support to the local vehicle manufacturers resulted in Ford announcing closure of its manufacturing operations in 2016 and both General Motors and Toyota announcing their respective closures in 2014 with operations to cease in late 2017.

When the automotive manufacturers announced their closures, the group undertook a detailed review of its various businesses to determine the future direction of the group. It was concluded that manufacturing had always been the mainstay of the group and as such it would continue to seek opportunities in this sector. The key difference being that the opportunities would no longer be automotive based. With that in mind, the group proceeded to divest various businesses that were non-core to this strategy. In 2015 and 2017, both hospitality assets were sold for record prices. The group also sold MHG Thailand in 2017 to HUF Group who were actively seeking a presence in South East Asia.

The group identified the construction and property sectors as an opportunity to apply 40 years of automotive manufacturing expertise to a supply chain that was highly fragmented. To realise this opportunity, the group acquired a leading processor of architectural glass (Flat Glass Industries) in mid-2016. The business at the time was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and post the acquisition was subsequently delisted and privatised. Flat Glass Industries has facilities in Moorebank (New South Wales) and Dandenong (Victoria). The vision was to add a third manufacturing site by transitioning the MHG Glass facility in North Geelong (Victoria). The group was able to sell its entire Geelong automotive glass processing equipment (over 21,000 sqm of plant and equipment) to a new entrant in Pakistan’s automotive sector. This paved the way for a new facility which is widely recognised as the world’s most advanced architectural glass processing facility. The breadth of capability and level of automation and sophistication is unparalleled. Commissioning of the facility commenced in 2018 and was completed later that same year. This investment is a significant milestone in securing the future of glass manufacturing on the site which was established by Pilkington in 1936.

In 2019, the final piece of the transformation was completed with the rebranding of the business to SOLOS Glass. SOLOS Glass was born when experience met expertise. A fusion of two dynamic leaders in glass: MHG Glass and Flat Glass Industries (FGI). With FGI’s long, trusted history in architectural glass processing combined with MHG Glass’ excellence in the globally competitive automotive sector, SOLOS Glass was a dynamic new leader in the market using every last drop of knowledge and skill to deliver world class glass solutions.

The group’s other manufacturing business (MHG Plastics Industries (VIC) Pty Limited) has continued to diversify its product and customer base providing it with a way forward post automotive. It now has customers spanning medical, civil safety, construction, consumer and automotive (genuine accessory) sectors. In December 2020, the group successfully sold this business to Innovative Plastics Solutions (part of the Venture group of companies which consists of 27 global facilities, with operations in Australia, China, Germany, India, Malaysia, North America & South Africa). This earmarks the end of a tremendously successful era for the group in the plastics manufacturing sector.

In late 2021, SOLOS Glass and Viridian (www.viridianglass.com) announced a merger of the two business to create Australia’s largest glass processing business. We continue our passion for glass by leading the industry for quality and innovation, supporting our customers and the wider community in accessing and understanding the benefits of choosing better glass for our homes and buildings.

Contact Us

MHG Corporation Pty Ltd

Suite 8.05 Level 8
100 William St
East Sydney NSW 2011

(02) 8592 1346