Mitac folds Navman Technology NZ assets into Australian affiliate

Local staff, above 300 before it was sold offshore, are down to a sales guy and his assistant.

Mitac Technology is winding up its Navman Technology NZ unit and transferring the assets to its Australian arm, although it says sales of Navman in-car and Magellan hand-held GPS navigation devices will continue to be supported locally.

Navman Technology was part of the company founded in 1986 by technology pioneer Sir Peter Maire and subsequently broken up and sold by Brunswick Corp. Norway's Navico bought the marine division, management bought out what became Navman Wireless, and Taiwan's Mitac bought the remainder in 2008.

Mitac tells NBR it will be business as usual and merely a paperwork shuffle as control of the NZ operation is moved across the Tasman.

At its height as a New Zealand-owned company, Navman employed more than 300 people on Auckland's North Shore.

By June 2013, after several rounds of cutback and offshoring, just 37 local staff were left.

Today, a rep for the company tells NBR there are two NZ staff: national sales manager Tony Hewlett and his assistant.

"Mitac Technology decided to disestablish the New Zealand engineering arm of the global company due to global market pressure, reduction in GPS unit sales and cost of doing business," says Mitac Australia country manager Wendy Hammond.

Notes to Navman Technology NZ's 2014 financial statements say a going concern assumption wasn't made for the company because the parent determined it would cease trading by March this year. 

The company has more than 35 percent market share in New Zealand, and will maintain its local sales arm to service Navman and Magellan brands locally, with the aim of growing market share, Hammond said. The group hasn't ceased trading in New Zealand and will continue to use a local distributor, with marketing supported from Australia, as it has been for the past 10 years.

The demise of the New Zealand company structure is noted by auditor PwC in its 2014 report for Navman Technology NZ.

The company's sales fell 18 percent to about $8.2 million in calendar 2014 and it recognised a restructuring gain of about $2 million as other income. It made a loss of $261,848 from a profit of $351,693 in 2013.

After selling Navman, Mr Maire was on NBR's Rich List for several years. But last year duff investments in ProvencoCadmus and Rakon saw him fall below the $50 million threshold.

In 2013 he was named to the board of Crown agency Callaghan Innovation.

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