Gulf Stars merges with two Al Faisaliah Group companies

The new systems integrator, called Ebittkar, plans to deliver full IT infrastructure services across the region.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  December 2, 2002

Saudi-based network integrator, Gulf Stars has merged with two Al Faisaliah Group companies in a bid to create an enterprise IT services giant. The merger, which has been in negotiation for over year, integrates Gulf Stars with Al Faisaliah’s IT sales and marketing body, FAST and the group’s services & support business unit, AES.

The 500-strong company, called Ebittkar, will offer infrastructure services, delivering everything from hardware, to the network and applications.

“We are able to offer an end to end solution in the infrastructure space, from hardware solutions, networking solutions, security and enterprise management,” says Salem Al Fares, managing director of Ebttikar, and group IT director, Al Faisaliah Group.

“We have the makings of a great company that has the [product] offering, the value added services, the innovation, and the systems integration skills,” he adds.

The merger has provided Ebttikar with critical mass in terms of technical resources — an important factor as it attempts to deliver competitive pricing against its market rivals. For example, the newly formed company achieved Cisco Gold Certified Status almost instantaneously when it was able to consolidate its number of Cisco Certified Internet Engineers.

“The deal gives us both sophistication of services but also depth of technical resources,” comments Abdulaziz Al Tamami, president, Gulf Stars.

An abundance of technical resources are key in expanding Ebttikar’s reach outside the Kingdom. The company has been formed with the express intention of exploiting business opportunities elsewhere in the region.

However, the merged entity has yet to formulate a ‘go to market’ strategy, and decide which services will fit into what markets.

“We have to look at the best ways to tackle the opportunities through alliances, partnerships or direct investment,” says Al Tamami.

Al Fares adds, “going regional is at the heart of [Ebttikar’s] vision. But we will spend much of 2003 studying the situation and deciding what products we are going go with, and ensuring that our execution is flawless.”

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