Hills hoist on electronics

Hills Holdings is offloading its remaining building materials businesses so it can focus on selling more closed-circuit TVs, antennas, alarms and other electronic products and services.

Hills Holdings is offloading its remaining building materials businesses so it can focus on selling more closed-circuit TVs, antennas, alarms and other electronic products and services.

Hills will retain its lifestyle products business, which includes the Hills Hoist clothes lines, as well as laundry trolleys, ironing boards, garden sprayers and doors.

But it has put its Orrcon steel tube and pipe business and Fielders roofing and flooring business up for sale because they do not generate high enough returns.

"We're in the process of talking to a number of buyers, but these processes could be anywhere from a few months to a few years," chief executive Ted Pretty said.

Hills recently sold its 48 per cent stake in Korvest, which supplies cable and pipe support and walkway systems. The sales come as Hills restructures.

Mr Pretty said Hills wanted to maintain its connection with the home by providing traditional Hills-branded products. As part of that, it will expand its electronics and communications businesses.

Electronics and communication devices were a high-growth market, he said. Funds raised from asset sales would be reinvested in high-growth areas.

In an investor update, Hills said it was comfortable with analyst forecasts of a full-year underlying profit for its continuing businesses of $16.2 million to $18.3 million. The profit forecast is before impairment and restructuring charges of $114.8 million. Hills booked a net loss of $73.6 million for the six months to December 31, 2012. Hills was 0.25ยข higher at $1.1225.

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