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Philips Australia

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Name: Philips Australia    (AUS)  
Abbreviation: philips
Products: Model types Tube manufacturer

Philips Australia
Philips Lamps (Australasia) Ltd. (1926-1943)
Philips Electrical Industries Pty Ltd. (1943-     )
Cnr Clarence and Margaret Streets, Sydney, NSW (1926)

Philips Electronics Australia Limited.
48-56 Derby Street, Kingswood, NSW


Philips Australia was the local subsidiary of Dutch Philips N.V.. Prior to 1930 Philips imported radios, local manufacture commenced in 1931.

Aside from their Philips branded products, the company also made radios for / owned the Briton, Mullard and Fleetwood brand names. They also manufactured valves, television picture tubes and transistors, and for a short ime, ICs.

Philips grew to become one of Australia’s largest manufacturing companies during the 1960s and 1970s, employing 13,000 people in 1970.

Production: 1931 -
Documents about this manufacturer/brand
  Philips Australia Innovals 4824 KB
  Discussion Paper No. 2016-04: Pierre van der Eng 1178 KB
  Discussion Paper No. 2017-06, Pierre van der Eng 1527 KB
  Discussion Paper No. 2016-07, Pierre van der Eng 1368 KB

Associate Professor Pierre van der Eng from the Research School of Management, ANU Canberra has kindly made his Working Papers on a very detailed history of Philips in Australia during the 20th Century available.

Discussion Paper No. 2016-04: European Integration & Australian Manufacturing Industry, The Case of Philips Electronics, 1960s-1970s.

Discussion Paper No. 2017-06: Dealing with Liability of Foreignness: The Case of Philips in Australia, 1945-1980.

Discussion Paper No. 2016-07: Managing Political Imperatives: Strategic Responses of Philips in Australia, 1939 – 1945.

Philips established its own sales office in Australia in 1925, which a year later became the fully owned subsidiary Philips Lamps (Australasia) Ltd. [1]
The company imported Philips products from The Netherlands, including lamps for household and industrial use, radio valves, radio sets, audio transformers, speakers, battery chargers and X-ray tubes. It distributed these products to local agents through its state-based distribution network.

In the 1930s, the Australian government increased import tariffs, which made it commercially viable for Philips Australia to diversify into manufacturing through investments in factories producing incandescent lamps in Newcastle (1930), and radio sets and valves in Sydney (1933 and 1936, respectively). With WW2 looming, the company diversified into producing radio communication equipment, loudspeakers and associated sound systems, as well as a growing range of components.[2]

In February 1943 the Directors considered that the former name inadequately described the scope of the company's interests, and the name was changed to Philips Electrical Industries Pty Ltd. [3]


Production and Sales of Valves by Philips Australia, 1937-1945 (in thousands)

 ProductionSales £Sales to AWA £
1937 58490184
1938 360465190
1939 340416107
1940 260433180
1941 421541200
1942 35073745
1943 44449531
1944 40451253
1945 30348235

From Discussion Paper No. 2016-07

In March 1946 the company closed three factories in NSW and moved to a former munitions factory at Hendon SA, however the head office and showroom remained in Sydney. [4][5]

Philips products were known in Australia for their high quality and relatively high price. Consequently, their market share was generally modest. Instead, the company’s strategy focused on the production of semi-manufactures; initially valves, but later a wide range of components that it sold profitably to the large number of radio and, after 1956, television set makers in Australia. The Hendon plant produced valves, picture tubes, coils, tuners, ferrites, aerials, electric motors, fans, condensers, metal and plastic mouldings, radio and television cabinets, and parts (such as chassis mountings, washers, screws, nuts, and bolts).

In 1958 they set up a subsidiary, Telecommunications Co. of Australia Pty. Ltd. (TCA) to design and manufacture Telecommunication Equipment. TCA was a major supplier to both Commonwealth and State Government Departments.

In 1959 it also started production of semiconductors such as transistors and diodes. Philips Australia dominated the local market for valves and other componentry for radio and television sets, which was the company’s most profitable business in the 1950s. For example, it produced over 7 million valves per year in 1959/60, capturing 65 to 70% of the Australian market. [2]

The Hendon plant also produced final consumer products such as radio sets, car and portable radios, radio-gramophones, shavers, record players and a variety of TV sets. And it produced customised industrial, scientific, and defence-related equipment, particularly communication equipment and television broadcasting equipment. Many other products were imported from sister companies in other countries. But for radio and television sets, Philips Australia made around 95% of the value of those receivers entirely in Australia in the early-1960s.

The main expansion of the company took the form of the acquisition in 1970 of Electronic Industries Ltd (EIL) in Melbourne, which was a large and diversified industrial conglomerate. Also known as the Astor group, it produced electronic products such as radios; television sets; whitegoods, including washing machines, refrigerators, freezers and laundry dryers; cassette players; clock radios; and records. By the 1960s EIL was larger than Philips Australia and much more diversified, with a series of non-core subsidiary companies, including electrical retailers, and producers of furniture, mattresses, vending machines, bicycles, machine tools, etc.

Philips Australia acquired EIL for two reasons. Firstly, Pye of Cambridge Ltd in the UK had a controlling interest in EIL since 1959. When Pye ran into financial difficulties it was taken over by Philips in The Netherlands in 1967, which gave Philips an indirect stake in EIL. Secondly, under an 8-year contract signed in 1967, EIL was a major buyer of componentry from Philips Australia, particularly television picture tubes. Philips Australia could not afford to forego EIL’s unresolved payment obligations and EIL’s future purchases by driving its major customer into receivership. When EIL suffered significant losses in 1969, parent company Philips decided that Philips Australia had to absorb EIL in 1970.

Restructuring of Philips Australia during the 1970s and-early 1980s was not very successful in terms of the company’s performance. It sustained significant losses in 1982-83 and 1985-86, mainly in consumer products, despite further closures of major manufacturing subsidiary companies, including Kriesler and Pye in 1983. The losses reduced the company’s equity, until it hit rock bottom in 1986, when Philips NL purchased the 25% of shares in Philips Australia that remained in public hands and delisted the company. [6]

In other words, by the mid-1980s the firm was no longer able to call for a role in the regional architecture of Philips in the Asia-Pacific. While Philips Australia continued production operations that focused on specialised high value-added products in telecommunications and defence, most other production facilities were sold off or closed by the late-1980s, facilitating the transformation of the company into a sales company in the 1990s. [2]

As of 2021, Philips Electronics Australia Limited is a subsidiary of Koninklijke Philips NV that derives its revenue from the importation, sale, marketing and servicing of medical equipment and electrical goods. The company employs approximately 540 employees, operates throughout Australia, and is administered by its head office in North Ryde, NSW.

[1] Dun's Gazette Dec 20, 1926, Page 479.
[2] Discussion Paper No. 2016-04
[3] The Sun (NSW) Feb 4, 1943, Page 7.
[4] Armidale Express & New England General Advert (NSW) Feb 27, 1946, Page 6.
[5] Argus (VIC) Mar 13, 1946, Page 16.
[6] Philips News Mar 24,1986.

This manufacturer was suggested by Wolfgang Scheida.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
AUS  49 126 1R5  Price is for Walnut & Mahogany. Ivory, Green & Blue case, £22/10/6. 
AUS  52 Radioplayer 135 6AN7  Cabinet colours available in Blue, Ivory, Green, Burgundy & Walnut. See also Mullar... 
AUS  67 Carnaby GF270 AC127  This model is indentical to Carnaby NG1036. It was given a new designation when Philips ch... 
AUS  68–71 Modular 17 House Portable T17 T284 Ch= 84 6GV8  17" portable TV with Hycon detachable screen & twin telescopic aerials. Standard ... 
AUS  34 Radioplayer Model A E446  Philips Release New Radioplayer Model "A" Most Promising Performer Campaig... 
AUS  31/32 1203 E442S  The Australia Philips model 1203 was published as "new" in Australian "Wireless Weekly" is... 
AUS  58–60 Quartet 166 6AN7  Philips "Quartet" Model 166 Compact 4-valve mantel radio with powerful perform... 
AUS  61–63 Futura Five 224 6AN7  Philips Model 224 "Futura Five" A five valve broadcast mantel radio in moulded... 
AUS  55–57 Quartet 164 6AN7  Colours available: Blue, Burgundy, Green, Ivory & Walnut. See also Philips model Qu... 
AUS  55–57 Quintet 165A 6AN7  The Philips Quintet 165A differs from the Quintet 165 by the inclusion of a pick... 
AUS  53 Minstrel Four 138 6AN7  4-valve superhet. Also available was the Chronoradio Model 145 with the addition of a c... 
AUS  65 Musicmaker MM1/01 (MMI/0I) 6AN7  Philips MM1/01; Made for the Australian market. The Musicmaker MM1/01 is an updated ve... 


Further details for this manufacturer by the members (rmfiorg):

[1] Dun's Gazette Dec 20, 1926, Page 479. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_philips_1_dun_s_gazette_dec_20_1926_page_479.jpg
[3] The Sun (NSW) Feb 4, 1943, Page 7. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_philips_3_the_sun_nsw_feb_4_1943_page_7.jpg
[4] Armidale Express & New England General Advert (NSW) Feb 27, 1946, Page 6. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_philips_4_armidale_express_new_england_general_advert_nsw_feb_27_1946_p6.jpg
[5] Argus (VIC) Mar 13, 1946, Page 16. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_philips_5_argus_vic_mar_13_1946_page_16.jpg
From the Australian Philips 1929 bulletin.tbn_aus_philips_speaker_ad2_1929.jpg
From the Australian Philips 1929 bulletin.tbn_aus_philips_speaker_ad_1929.jpg
Philips Australia advert from "Wireless Weekly" for 24 May, 1935 P75 showing the 1935 radio product line.tbn_aus_philips_1935wwad.jpg
Philips Jubilee 4 with details on Models, 127, 130 & 131. The Australian Women's Weekly, 5 December 1951 page 2. Image sourced from Trove – National Library of Australiatbn_aus_philips_jubilee4_the_australian_women_s_weekly_5_dec_1951_page_2.jpg
Radio Trade Annual 1933tbn_philips_ad_rtaa_1933_p_158.jpg
Radio Trade Annual 1933tbn_philips_ad_rtaa_1933.png
Radio Trade Annual 1933tbn_philips_ad_rtaa_p_144.jpg
Modern Radio Handbook no II Australiatbn_philips_octodes_modern_radio_handbook_ii.png
Philips logo dates.tbn_aus_philips_logo..jpg


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