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“Business as usual” as Audioprof swallows chunk of Community

Belgian Apart owner takes control of US-based Community

Koen Claerbout, the CEO of Audioprof Group International, says it’s “business as usual” following the holding company’s acquisition of a majority shareholding in Community Professional Loudspeakers.

Now the Pennsylvania-based, 1968-founded manufacturer of large-scale PA systems for sports venues, houses of worship and theme parks, joins Apart Audio, the 1992-formed Belgian maker of small-to-medium sized commercial fixed installation speakers, under the Audioprof banner.

“We are very happy that we can offer our worldwide customers a complete range from indoor to outdoor and from small to large fixed Install Audio solutions with two very strong brands: Community and Apart Audio,” said Hans Swinnen, chairman of Audioprof Group International, following the deal.

“Both companies will be developed as standalone entities under the same umbrella respecting their market focus, customer base, culture and heritage. They will enjoy ‘best practice sharing’ from both sides. With a strong base in Europe and the USA we will strengthen our worldwide position in Installed Sound. We are very pleased that Bruce Howze stays on board as an important shareholder, president and R&D director and that Christine Howze will continue to help us grow the business. Leadership positions at Community will remain the same with Steve Johnson as CEO.”

Audioprof CEO Claerbout told PSNEurope that distribution channels will remain unchanged. “If both brands have different distributors [in a particular territory], it will remain the same,” he said.

The takeover will inevitably enable Apart Audio to make use of Community’s networks in the States, as the Antwerp-based company is not active in the USA currently, Claerbout revealed.

There are no immediate job losses, he confirmed. “As Community remains a standalone organisation, it does not have an impact and there are no overlapping roles. So, it is business as usual.”

With a company from ‘tiny’ Belgium taking control of a major US brand, should it be viewed as a ‘David vs Goliath’ victory?

“We actually see this more as a partnership in which two brands are joining forces,” replied Claerbout. “There is a lot of respect in Belgium for the great heritage at Community!”