Redington grows in Africa

Redington adds more vendors to its portfolio on pan-African basis, with new offices and service centre planned for Kenya and other countries

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By  Mark Sutton Published  September 29, 2003

Redington is planning to expands it operations in East and West Africa. The distributor already has an office in Nigeria, but now plans to open offices in Kenya to grow operations in East Africa.
Sumant Saran, general manager of Redington Gulf said that the aim is to become pan-African with its distribution business.

"We are currently talking to our brand vendors about pan-African distribution, we are looking at a complete product range for each brand in all countries," Saran said.

Redington already represents Intel in 31 countries in Africa, and has also taken on HP Supplies, Fujitsu-Siemens, BenQ and Acer to build a general distribution portfolio. The company will be holding events with its vendors in Nigeria in September and October to raise awareness among local resellers.

In Nigeria, Redington already has a team of expatriate and local staff, as well as warehousing facilities and a service centre. Now the aim is to build on the success of Nigeria to other key territories in Africa.

"We see Africa as the next growth market, other distributors also realise it, but Redington's ability is to go into difficult markets-it is what we are good at. We feel that what has happened in the last five or six years in terms of growth of business in the Middle East, will be there in three years in Africa," said Raj Shankar, director of Redington MEA region.

While there are still challenges with logistics in African markets, there are also double-digit margins to be made, Saran said. By offering a full distribution service in-country, Redington aims to be able to capture local business and export business that is done in Dubai through walk-in customers from Africa.

Sukant Mishra, business manager with Redington explained: "There is no loyalty to distributor or brand in Africa, loyalty is to the extra dollar made from selling one box over another. The responsibility is on the distributors and vendors, because there is nobody actually going into the market and saying 'we are here' and addressing post sales support.

"How do we address post sales support today-give 1% buffer stock extra-we have to go in-country, we have to have local people there, to deploy the business models in-country, understand the local languages and requirements, and try to change the business from the typical trading model to a distribution model," he added.
Redington plans to establish a service centre in Kenya by the year end.

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