Steinway Piano Won't Sell; China Sales Up 30%

Posted: 01/06/2013 6:06PM


Steinway muscial instrument wood acoustic piano woodshopThe making of a Steinway piano, a time-honored process, involves the hands of many skilled craftspeople over the course of almost a full year. Steinway & Sons pianos are built in two factories worldwide - one in Astoria, NY and one in Hamburg, Germany. Both factories have been building pianos for well over a century, and although Steinway has always been at the cutting edge in utilizing and perfecting the latest technology where it could make the piano better, the company says it has found that certain things are simply better when done by skilled craftspeople than by a machine. Consequently, many parts of the process in building a Steinway have remained essentially unchanged for generations. So much so, that decades-old audio from a narrated factory tour by the late John H. Steinway (great-grandson of Henry E. Steinway, who founded the company in 1853) and use it as the narration for footage shot at the Steinway NY factory in 2011 by Ben Niles, producer of the documentary film "Note by Note" (   WALTHAM, MA – Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. (NYSE:LVB) says it will not sell its famed piano making business, or its woodwind and brass band instrument division.

 Acoustic piano sales are pressured by the popularity of electronic instruments - especially among popular artists, though Steinway concentrates on the high end of the classic music market. Sales for the Waltham, MA company were $89.3 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, or $400,000 lower than the year ago period.

Steinway received an unsolicited proposal to sell its band instrument division in 2011, and announced an agreement in principle to sell to an investor group led by two current directors - Dana Messina, former CEO, and John Stoner, Conn-Selmer President. Samick Musical Instruments Co. Ltd, the owner of one-third of Steinway's common stock, lanned to invest.

Steinway’s board engaged Allen & Co. to evaluate the proposal and other options, including a sale of the Company’s band division and a sale of the entire Company. Steinway has now terminated the earlier agreement in principle and decided not to sell.

In its latest quarter, Steinway said its sales to China rose 30%, while U.S. and European sales declined. European sales are expected to rise in 2013 following delivery of orders in the pipeline.


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