Alba (brand)

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Industry Consumer electronics
Founded 1917; 98 years ago (1917)
Founder Alfred Balcombe
Headquarters Milton Keynes
Owner Home Retail Group
Number of employees

Alba is a British consumer electronics brand owned by Home Retail Group. Its sister brand is Bush. Today, all Alba products are sold exclusively at Argos.[1]


Alba began by manufacturing radio sets from 1922. In the late 1960s they became Alba Group, and made only low-cost consumer products.[2][3]

The name Alba is formerly a trademark used on radio and television produced by A.J. Balcombe Ltd. The company was originally formed in 1917 or 1918 by Alfred Balcombe, becoming known as Alba in 1960, and eventually going into receivership in June 1982.[4] During that time, it was a significant contributor to the development of the British radio & TV industry. In 1982, it was bought by [the former] Harvard International (formerly before 1982).

The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1987 as Alba plc, buying Bush in 1988, and then Goodmans in 1994.

Alba also produces electronic products under licence for other companies or individuals, including Antony Worrall Thompson, Cable and Wireless, Carl Lewis, JCB, Ministry of Sound, Nicky Clarke and NTL.

The company sold its share of the Grundig brand for £25.5m in December 2007, although it retained the UK distribution rights until 2010.

In November 2008, the Alba brand name, along with Bush, were purchased by Home Retail Group, the parent company of Homebase and Argos, for £15.25 million. As a result the former Alba Group was renamed to Harvard International.


Alba products are more basic and cheaper compared to its sister brand, Bush, which manufactures more professional and more expensive products.[citation needed]

Most products are made in China, being rebranded appliances made by indigenous Chinese companies.


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