As we reported on April 7, Peter Johansen - founder and former owner of Martin Professional - has been sentenced to three months in jail by the local court of justice in Aarhus, Denmark. Johansen, through an intermediary, has now contacted us to offer his version of events. He says that the ruling followed his attempt in the spring of 1999 to block the possibility of a hostile take-over of Martin Professional, 15 months after he left the company as CEO. "Martin was under threat after a long period of unrest, which had driven down the value of the Martin stocks. I tried to top up my 25 percent stock-share to 33.33 percent to be able to block the board from selling to hostile bidders. To avoid further unrest, I decided not to publish my intentions. I did not want the market to get the false impression that I was trying to pave my way back as CEO of my old company."Shortly after the attempt, which did not succeed, Johansen sold a major part of his stocks to Schouw & Co - the present owner of Martin Professional. The sale gave Johansen a marginal profit and whilst the court of justice acknowledged that there had been no motive for profit in his actions, the ruling states that he should have informed the Copenhagen Stock Exchange about his acquisitions. Johansen has decided to appeal against the sentence.
Saffron Walden-based Tannoy-Audix Systems has secured the contract to supply and commission the public address system on P&O's new Grand Class cruise ships - Grand Princess III and Grand Princess IV. The US$1.25m contract is the latest stage in a long-standing relationship between the two companies, and follows Tannoy-Audix's recent success in winning the PA and general alarm systems contracts for two luxury cruise liners being built in Mississippi for Classic Voyages. These ships, the largest ever built in the US, will each accommodate 1,900 passengers, and will begin service in 2003 and 2004.
SCV London has taken on the distribution of Universal Audio. A familiar brand in the 1960s, Universal's UREI 1176LN limiter was a feature of many major recording studios across Europe. Bill Putnam's classic designs are continued and improved by his sons, and the latest versions of the 1176LN and the Teletronix levelling amplifier LA-2A are now available from SCV.
Jonny Ringo's, Ultimate Leisure's newest venue in Newcastle combines a two-storey café/bar/restaurant with cutting-edge Internet and satellite TV technology. Total Audio Solutions provided a zoned sound system for the venue, to complement the unique video and computer system being installed by Tyneside's Sound & Vision Network. The system is based around Sony's SRP-S900 full-range loudspeakers, SRP-B1000P subs and SRP-P26 power amps, and controlled by the new SRP-F300 digital audio processor, used to provide multiple audio zones, crossover functions, delay, EQ and limiting. S&VN's Brian Howells said: "We saw the F300 as a great advance for this type of installation, where there are no technical people around. We can just set the whole system up, program as many memories as the staff need, and lock it off."
London-based Rossula Limited, the company behind the Lightfactor Sales and LightProcessor operations, has entered into a joint venture with German company Zeck Audio to form Zeck Audio UK Ltd, which will market the entire range of Zeck pro audio products throughout the British Isles, from its base in Greenford, West London. Rossula MD Mick Hannaford, comments: "This is an exciting opportunity to bring a unique and competitive range of innovative audio products to the UK. Our aim is to deliver the brand across the country through a small number of strategic distribution partners."Zeck products suit a broad range of professional applications from background and foreground sound reinforcement to touring and installation systems of all sizes. The range includes microphones, wireless systems, cables, connectors, mixing consoles, signal processors, amplifiers and a range of passive and active loudspeaker enclosures.
The latest addition to the Po Na Na chain, Reading's Fez Club, is the first Po Na Na establishment to offer live entertainment, and is also the first to feature a solely Turbsound sound reinforcement system. The re-vamped venue, formerly Alleycats, makes use of the the existing four stacks of Floodlight system serviced (comprising mid-highs and bass units), which Turbosound refurbished and redesigned, adding extra enclosures to create a powerful main system, with the installation carried out by Tarsin. The additional Turbosound units specified include 16 Turbosound TCS-30 enclosures feeding the intimate lower-level setting, supported by two TCS-215 front-loaded subwoofers. Two Impact 121 full-range loudspeakers provide the monitoring for the DJ and a further two TCS-40s create the delay around the main room. Two more TCS-40s provide the VIP area with a dedicated feed.
City Theatrical's Autoyokes have been specified for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints' new conference centre in Salt Lake City, Utah. 50 Autoyoke fixtures, used with ETC Source Four luminaires, will be installed at the 21,000-seat Assembly Hall. The Autoyokes, which are equipped with AutoIris and 50-degree lens tubes and have 16-bit pan and tilt resolution, were specified by lighting consultant Auerbach + Associates.
The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) reports that the ABTT Show, which took place in London last week, attracted 2,300 visitors - an increase of 15% on the previous year. The added buzz was noticeable at the two-day show, with many exhibitors saying it was far busier than they remember it being before. Statistics released by the ABTT today show that 29% of visitors come under the technical/production manager category, 38% were from theatrical suppliers or service providers, and 12% were students or teachers.
At the NAB exhibition in Las Vegas (8-13 April), Barco and the Gearhouse Group have signed an important order for the renewal of a significant part of Gearhouse's worldwide projector rental fleet. The agreement involves in excess of 80 LCD and DLP projectors, with a market value of $5m. It comprises Barco ELM R12 DLP projectors as well as Barco 9000 and Barco 6000 Series LCD projection systems, which will become the reference projectors for Gearhouse's rental and staging applications worldwide. Gearhouse director Gary Davis said: "We believe this is the largest single order for projectors ever placed in the rental industry and in line with our commitment to being the premier staging company worldwide."
At the Frankfurt MusikMesse (12-16 April), the export arm of Tannoy Professional has announced record sales for the first quarter of 2000, up 63% on the same period last year. This increase is attributed to key additions to the company's overseas distribution network, in addition to a focus on existing distributors giving Tannoy a solid base from which to trade worldwide. The most successful proucts have included the new i6AW 6.5" Dual Concentric all-weather sound reinforcement loudspeaker, which has been well received overseas. The T300, Tannoy's figurehead SuperDual full-range transportable loudspeaker, has also established itself as a best seller.
Fleetwood Mobiles has recently completed a three-night stint with Macy Gray, recording concerts at Wembley Arena and Brixton Academy for a US documentary. Toby Allington, of Audio Logistics, was responsible for mixing Gray's vocals at the recent Brit Awards ceremony. He commissioned the project after witnessing Fleetwood in action at the Brits, where the truck handled mixing for three of the four live bands for television broadcast the following night.Allington, in conjunction with the US documentary crew, called on Fleetwood to record Macy Gray's London concerts and provide synchronisation between the audio source and the pictures, which were shot on film using nine 16mm cameras.
Artistic Licence has announced the launch of its new website, which offers full e-commerce facilities allowing customers to order any products from the company's range, on-line. The Artistic Licence product range now exceeds 100 items, ranging from DMX512 test equipment to LED digital lighting. Customers can also download all product manuals, advance product information and demonstration software.
Australian company Jands Production Services is purchasing a complete V-Dosc loudspeaker system from Paris-based manufacturer L-Acoustics, for use in its sound rental operation. In doing so, Jands becomes the network partner for all V-Dosc rentals in Australia and New Zealand. Peter Ratcliffe, part-owner of Jands and head of sound operations, commented: "We were attracted to the compact size of the cabinets along with the V-Dosc system's remarkable power, pattern control and near-field response over distance. We wanted a system that would be suitable for touring, corporate and special events. V-Dosc offers a quantifiable improvement in sound quality in all these applications."
Tannoy's Dual Concentric loudspeakers have been installed at the popular Cheers bar and restaurant in London's West End, by Twickenham-based installer ADC & Company. The new system was required after the venue changed hands and acquired a 3am licence, as the existing system did not have the power and flexibility to deal with day and night-time use. Four Tannoy i15 speakers cover the main bar area, while the newly-created dance floor is served by four Tannoy i12 and two T40 sub-bass speakers. All amplification is from QSC. A smaller dance area uses four i8 Dual Concentrics, with two portable T12s in the entrance cafe-bar. All zones are controlled by Tannoy's TX controllers.
Australia-based lighting control and dimming specialist LSC Lighting Systems has said that the company is now "back stronger than ever", following last year's problems, which involved the company entering voluntary administration (similar to Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the USA). LSC say they are now fully recovered, with the support of new investors, new additions to the team and new distributors. New team members include design draughtsman Nathan Plemming and R&D engineer Sean Scott, while another important area to be addressed is customer relations. Marketing director Alan Graham said: "The sales and marketing infrastructure at LSC is focussed towards creating good information flow to the customer . . . By appointing sales and marketing support officer Belinda Kischkel, LSC can offer a quicker response to customer issues and demands."
Gearhouse plc and theatre and concert structures specialist Kayam (designers of the Tensile 1) have agreed to combine the operation of the Tensile 1 and Valhalla structures. From the same designers as the Kayam structure, Tensile 1 is the world's largest transportable venue, accommodating up to 22,500 people under one roof. The Kayam is already a familiar feature at music events throughout Europe, and to meet the demand for larger structures, the Kayam Concert Tent was introduced in 1998, and this year a third structure, the Valhalla, has been added to the Kayam group to meet the demand for even higher clearances and larger clearspans. With Valhalla and the Gearhouse Tensile 1 offering a similar specification, grouping all four structures under the one umbrella became an obvious move forward. The two companies can now offer anything up to 30,000sq.m in a single, versatile package.
Northern Stage Services, based in Lancashire, has recently added a further six systems of Sony's Freedom UHF wireless microphones to its stock, having purchased the systems from Sony distributor Total Audio Solutions. Murphy points out that even smaller clients are no longer prepared to accept the lower quality of VHF transmission, and that reliability and ease of setup were also prime considerations. The system supplied by TAS includes a MB-806 six-way 1U receiver and six WRT-805HR beltpack transmitters. Murphy has incorporated the system into custom flightcases for rapid turn-around between jobs.
The Palace Theatre, Watford, is one of the few remaining producing theatres in the country, with many of its productions touring nationally and playing in the West End. The Grade II listed Edwardian theatre is currently undertaking a fundraising campaign to raise £1.5m for essential refurbishment and chief electrician Ian Saunders came up with the idea of projecting a fundraising message onto the safety curtain to highlight the appeal to the audience. To get the appeal off the ground, ETC Europe donated two Source Four lanterns to the theatre. ETC Europe's Peter Ed, made the presentation to Ian Saunders whilst Stage Technologies' Nikki Scott was instrumental in organising the donation.
A host of industry friends and colleagues from all over the world gathered in Cambridge on Saturday 8th April to wish Derrick Saunders, Pulsar's long-time sales and marketing director, well on his retirement. Colleagues who paid tribute included Pulsar MD Paul Mardon, Clay Paky's Enrico Caironi and Lightpower's Gunther Olbricht. Derrick won't lose touch with the industry altogether for he plans to work alongside wife Monica at Adda Super Cases. PLASA would like to take this opportunity to wish Derrick and Monica all the very best for the future.
Following our news story last month about the proposed deal, Mackie has now completed its purchase of Eastern Acoustic Works Inc (EAW). "We are excited about the opportunities afforded us by this acquisition," stated Greg Mackie, founder and chairman of Mackie Designs. "EAW is a leading brand in the professional audio industry and is recognised as a world class developer and manufacturer of high-end professional audio equipment." Jamie Engen, Mackie's chief operating officer added: "There are significant synergies which will come from the combination of Mackie, EAW, and RCF, our Italian subsidiary. Our brands, our engineering, our manufacturing capabilities, our distribution channels, our target markets and especially our people, all complement one another."
At a cost of £23 million, the 100-year-old Dome complex in Brighton will see the first stage of its two-tier renovation programme completed this September. The 1,200-capacity Corn Exchange and 230-capacity Pavilion Theatre will both open following refurbishment. The second phase of the project will see the refurbishment of the 1,800-seat central auditorium completed some time next year.
PLASA EXCLUSIVE:PLASA Publishing has this afternoon learned that US-based Matthews Studio Equipment Group - one of the largest suppliers of professional equipment to the entertainment industry, has today announced that it has filed a voluntary petition for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The NASDAQ-listed company supplies conventional and automated lighting, grip, transportation, generators, camera equipment, audio and video equipment and theatrical supplies via its worldwide distribution network.Carlos D. DeMattos, chairman and CEO, said: "We have spent the past several months attempting to come up with a proposal that would address the company's challenges outside of a court proceeding. Ultimately, the time required to complete a restructuring transaction and the uncertain cost of closing unprofitable locations were too great to overcome."He continued: "This procedure will bring order to a disorderly process. It should have little or no impact on our customers, our vendors, or our employees. We intend to continue to compete vigorously in all of our markets and to work diligently to meet the needs of our customers."Certain of Matthews' subsidiaries were included in the filings as a result of last-minute demands by the company's lenders, to which the company was forced to accede.
PLASA EXCLUSIVE:Danish financial newspaper Børsen has reported this afternoon that Peter Johansen, the former head of Danish lighting manufacturer Martin Professional, has received a three-month jail sentence following this week's high profile trial for company fraud. In addition, he has been fined a total of DKK 3.6 million (approx £300,000).The Danish newspaper Børsen, also reports today that Poul Schluter, the former Danish Prime Minister and chairman of the board of Martin Professional, has given notice of his resignation, and will leave the company on April 27th.
Amersham-based Auditel has secured a US$4.5 million contract from the Government of Iran. The order is for a complete voting and sound and communications system for the Ministry of Housing of the Government of Iran and has been won in conjunction with Sony Corp of Dubai who will supply the TV broadcast equipment. Auditel is responsible for the project management and already has a team in place in Tehran. The installation covers sound reinforcement, voting systems, audio and TV and the entire system will be computer-controlled.