Company History

Philips officially established it’s Australian operations in 1926 as a subsidiary company of the Dutch firm.

After the second world war a surplus ammunitions factory at Hendon, South Australia was purchased and in 1947 the company moved it’s operations to the Hendon plant. Hendon continued to be developed with CRT and later, semiconductor manufacturing occuring at the site.

In Oct 1970 Philips Industries takes over the operations of Electronics Industries Ltd. (E.I.L.) after the firm encountered financial difficulties. At the time, E.I.L. had just completed constructing a new 50 acre manufacturing site at Clayton, Victoria. Philips Industries takes over the new site.

Astor Centre
Aerial view of Astor (E.I.L.) Centre, Clayton Victoria. Photo taken around 1969.

From the beginning of 1972, all design and manufacturing of radio and television being undertaken at Hendon is combined in with the Clayton operations. Hendon will continue operating as a major Australian components manufacturer.

The new K9A colour TV chassis commences production at Clayton in February 1974 and as of September 1974 production was at 135 sets per day. It was expected to be double that by years end. Clayton becomes a large manufacturing, spares and service centre, manufacturing a large variety of products including radio, television, two-way radio and domestic appliances such as refrigerators.

Philips Industries suffers mounting losses during the early 1980’s due to reduced import tariff protection and the devaluation of the Australian dollar driving up costs. Strong price competition from imports prevents Philips from raising prices to help reduce losses.

In May 1986 the Dutch parent company, NV Philips makes a formal takeover offer of Philips Industries Ltd. The offer is accepted and in June 1986 the takeover is completed. Restructuring of the local operations is immediately undertaken in an attempt to stem the losses.

After reviewing local operations, Philips Industries closes down the Australian colour television manufacturing operation in late 1987. Other divisions such as two-way radio, continue operations at Clayton.

The Clayton plant closes in the early 1990’s and the site is redeveloped as an industrial estate. As of 2012, the majority of the site is now occupied by a car dealership and a large hardware chain store. The rest is occupied by small factories.

 

Note: The above information has been collated from a number of sources and may contain errors. If anyone can add to this history or knows of any factual errors made, please leave a comment.

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