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.