Hills Limited

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Hills Limited
Public
Traded as ASXHIL
Founded 1948
Founder Lance Hill, Harold Ling
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Key people
Jennifer Helen Hill-Ling(Chairperson), David Lenz(CEO)
Website www.hills.com.au

Hills Limited (Hills) is a publicly listed technology solutions company (ASX: HIL) with branches across Australia and NEW Zealand. focused on delivering products that connect, entertain and secure people’s lives. Hills is the evolution of Hills Hoist Ltd, the company founded by Lance Hills and Harold Ling in 1948 [1]to manufacturer the Hills Hoist clothesline. Today Hills is a value-added distributor of technology products and services including security and surveillance solutions, audio visual, IT, communications and health solutions.

The origin of Hills Limited dates back to 1945, when Lance Hill invented the Hills Hoist, a height-adjustable rotary clothes line.[2] Together with his brother-in-law, Harold Ling, Hill manufactured the clothes lines in his backyard in Glenunga, South Australia, before moving production to a nearby factory. Hills Hoists Ltd was formed in January 1948, with Hill as chairman and Ling as a director [3] and by 1954, the factory had relocated to a larger site and was producing six hundred hoists a week and supplying branches throughout Australia.[4]

In 1956, Hill retired due to ill-health, and Ling took over as chairman. During the 1950’s, Hills Hoists Ltd expanded its business into New Zealand and the United Kingdom, opening a factory in Auckland in 1958 and in Caerphilly, Wales in 1959. Simultaneously, the factory in Australia was diversifying into the production of other metal products, such as playground swings and folding chairs.In particular, Hills was pioneering the development of the television antenna, so that by 1957 Hills Hoist Ltd was Australia’s largest manufacturer of rotary clothes lines and one of the largest producers of television antennas.[5] In 1958, Hills Hoists Ltd became a public company – Hills Industries Limited – and in the following years, entered into the TV service market, providing antennas, their installation and connection.[6]

In 1967, Hills Industries Limited officially opened its first purpose built metal tubing factory at Sullivan Beach in South Australia, and in 1969, acquired automotive component manufacturer Hitchin & Hallett Pty Ltd, and began to produce automotive exhaust systems.

Throughout the seventies, Hills kept pace with the rapid social and market changes of the era, expanding its range of consumer products, including children’s play equipment and homewares. By 1971, Hills had taken a leading position in the specialist TV market, as one of the few companies capable of handling both master and community antenna systems, and by 1985, Hills was the industry leader in TV antenna sales and technology, exporting its product to South East Asia and the Middle East.[7]

During the eighties and nineties, Hills divested itself of its automotive components business, but continued to diversify its portfolio. In 1986, Hills bought 46% of Korvest, a manufacturer of cable and pipe supports, and in 1987 acquired Direct Alarm Supplies, embarking on a new focus on security and surveillance.[8]

By 2000, Hills had consolidated its business into three industry segments focusing on electronics, home and hardware and building and industrial. Steel tubing had been the mainstay of Hills’ growth as a manufacturer, but in order to compete with large multi-nationals, the business was sold into a joint venture with Welded Tube Mills of Australia to form Orrcon.[9] In 2002, Hills sold 50% of its UK business to form a partnership with Freudenberg Household Products, manufacturers of the Vildea brand, to facilitate sales throughout Europe.[10] In Australia, the K.Care group and Kerry Equipment (health care equipment brands) were acquired, as Hills capitalised on the growth in the aged care sector.[11]

By 2004, Hills had refined it business segments to electronic security and entertainment, home and hardware and building and industrial, signalling a focus on the provision of integrated entertainment, security and communications systems.[12] In 2006, Hills sold its remaining investment in Hills United Kingdom to Freudenberg Household Products, ending its venture into the European market.[13] With the acquisition of Air Comfort Seating Systems in 2007, to complement the K-Care and Kerry Equipment range, Hills Healthcare was launched and quickly became the leading manufacturer of rehabilitation, mobility and hospital equipment in Australia.

In 2010, Hills Industries Limited changed its company name to Hills Holdings Limited, to reflect its transition from an industrial company to a diversified investment company,[14]and in 2012, embarked on a major restructure to transform from a low margin, capital intensive manufacturer to a distributor of integrated technology products and services.[15] In December 2013, the company changed its name from Hills Holding Limited to Hills Limited [16] and divested itself of industrial assets including Korvest and Orrcon, as well as its healthcare businesses to focus on opportunities in technology and communications.[17] After 2 years of having licensed the sale of its Hills Home Living brands to Woolworths, Hills Limited sold the manufacturing and sale rights of those brands to AMES Australasia,[18] a subsidiary of the American Griffon Corporation.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17 (MUP) 2007 National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University
  2. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17 (MUP) 2007 National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University
  3. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15 (MUP) 2000 National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University
  4. ^ Harris, D.(1996) What a line! The story of the people who made the hoist an Australian icon: Fifty years of Hills
  5. ^ Harris, D.(1996) What a line! The story of the people who made the hoist an Australian icon: Fifty years of Hills
  6. ^ Harris, D.(1996) What a line! The story of the people who made the hoist an Australian icon: Fifty years of Hills
  7. ^ Harris, D.(1996) What a line! The story of the people who made the hoist an Australian icon: Fifty years of Hills
  8. ^ Harris, D.(1996) What a line! The story of the people who made the hoist an Australian icon: Fifty years of Hills
  9. ^ Hills Annual Report Year Ended 30 June 2000, http://corporate.hills.com.au/investors/reports
  10. ^ Hills Annual Report Year Ended 30 June 2002, http://corporate.hills.com.au/investors/reports
  11. ^ Hills Annual Report Year Ended 30 June 2003, http://corporate.hills.com.au/investors/reports
  12. ^ Hills Annual Report Year Ended 30 June 2004, http://corporate.hills.com.au/investors/reports
  13. ^ Hills Annual Report Year Ended 30 June 2006, http://corporate.hills.com.au/investors/reports
  14. ^ Hills Annual Report Year Ended 30 June 2010, http://corporate.hills.com.au/investors/reports
  15. ^ Hills Annual Report Year Ended 30 June 2013, http://corporate.hills.com.au/investors/reports
  16. ^ ASX Code and Company Name Changes 2013, http://asx.com.au/prices/company-name-and-asx-code-changes-2013.htm
  17. ^ Hills Annual Report Year Ended 30 June 2013, http://corporate.hills.com.au/investors/reports
  18. ^ "Hills sells right to make and sell Hills Hoist clotheslines". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 
  19. ^ "Hills Ltd sells intellectual rights on clothesline and other products to local arm of US-based Griffon Corporation". Herald Sun. Retrieved 10 January 2017.