Sennheiser Middle East: End of Season Review

Head of Technical Sales & Application Ryan Burr

The Sennheiser Group have had a busy year seeing strong turnover, restructuring efforts and welcoming new team members on board.

Sennheiser generated a turnover of €667.7 million in the fiscal year 2017, which is €9.3 million, or 1.4%, more than in 2016. Earnings before taxes declined to €-4.5 million compared to €34.9 million in 2017.

This includes restructuring costs of around €21.6 million, which are reported in the expenses as one-time effects. Sennheiser further developed its organisational structure in 2017 to counteract the decline in earnings and secure long-term profitable growth, thereby positioning the family business successfully in the future. Accordingly, Sennheiser also increased its investments in research and development by 6.2% compared to the previous year to €57.8 million.

Major Projects

Sennheiser supported its Kuwaiti partner, aDawliah, in supplying, installing and commissioning a large ADN wireless conference system for The Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait City. The conference facilities at The Sheraton are quite expansive and the conference system is required to operate in multiple rooms of the facility simultaneously so the location and management of the antenna modules to some planning and attention.

The day the installation and commissioning were completed was the same day the system was used for the first time and for a high-profile event, a conference involving the Ministers of Trade from all the countries in the region.

In addition to this, it also continues to support both Sony and Al Jazeera with The Workplace Transformation Project for their studios in Doha. At the end of 2017, the company completed the commissioning of other 40+ channels of wireless mic and IEM systems. This included a complex custom designed antenna distribution system so that presenters can move throughout the studios without having to change transmitters or frequencies.

Product Development

In the professional market, the company aims to further strengthen core competencies such as wireless microphone technology for the future, while its focus in the consumer market is on “Smart & Connected” audio experiences. An important component of both divisional strategies remains the AMBEO 3D audio technology program.

The Digital 6000, in particular, has been adopted as the go-to wireless microphone system by both big production houses and touring artists alike with people like Ed Sheeran and Robbie Williams using it on their current tours. Sennheiser recently supported the Eurovision Song Contest where there were 80+ channels of D6000 running together.

Even the Wireless G4, which was only released a few months ago has already gained considerable traction in The Middle East. The Sennheiser team in Dubai has engaged with several partners and end users in the region to demonstrate the new look and feel of G4 with seminars in The Burj Al Arab and in Kenya having already taken place and more individual sessions for customers continuing going forward.

Team Expansion

In November 2017, Sennheiser appointed Fadi Costantine as its new Technical Sales Manager in the Middle East. Having joined Sennheiser from its long-standing regional distributor, VenueTech, he has been responsible for supporting customers and growing our footprint in the Business Communication, System Integration and Audio Recording segments.

In 2018, the company once again expanded its team with the addition of a new Area Sales Manager for the System Solutions Channel in the UAE and Qatar. Arif PK who took on this role is also focused on strengthening our position in the Business Communications, System Integration and Broadcast segments and given his extensive experience in Qatar, is working to drive new business across all verticals in the country.

Sennheiser also employed an average of 2,728 people in 2017 (previous year: 2,725). At the end of the year, headcount at the Sennheiser Group stood at 2,833. An average of 52% of all employees worked for companies based in Germany, while the remaining 48% were based abroad. The number of trainees worldwide totalled 63, compared to 69 the previous year.

Changes in the Region

Ryan Burr, Head of Technical Sales & Application at Sennheiser Middle East, commented on changes in the region and Sennheiser’s cooperation with the Telecommunications Regulations Authority (TRA).

“We have been actively engaging with the TRA as they have been working with us as well as other leading broadcast-related equipment manufacturers to spread awareness about the licensing regulations. Given that high demand for greater and improved mobile telecommunications services has forced a huge reduction in the amount of Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) spectrum available to production companies and broadcasters, we see this regulation as necessary and positive development.”

Read Head of Technical Sales & Application Ryan Burr’s full interview in the April edition of TPMEA…