Almasa goes pan-EMEA with Maxtor

Dubai-based distributor Almasa has expanded its distribution agreement with Maxtor, allowing its PC Storage unit to sell the vendor’s hard disk drives (HDDs) throughout the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  March 11, 2004

Dubai-based distributor Almasa has expanded its distribution agreement with Maxtor, allowing its PC Storage division to sell the vendor’s hard disk drives throughout the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Despite the maturity of the European IT distribution sector, Almasa is convinced its approach will allow it to make inroads into the market. “Almasa IT Distribution’s PC Storage is targeting a first year sales of 2.5 million units,” says Mehdi Amjad, managing director at Almasa distribution. “Unlike existing competitors we will not have European infrastructure, choosing to keep back office operations in the UAE. This will provide considerable cost savings which we will pass on to the channel.” Almasa is recruiting a 22-strong team to cover the European market and plans to open an office in either Germany or the UK during the first half of 2004. Almasa claims that PC Storage will be able to achieve quicker delivery and more cost-effective pricing than existing pan-European IT distribution companies to a customer base of resellers and retailers. Almasa’s team on the ground will work as mobile marketing agents capable of providing front-end sales and customer service operations. The company is using third parties to provide European logistics centres in the Netherlands and Austria. Almasa also has plans to expand PC Storage’s geographic remit into Asia. Almasa has put forward an ambitious plan to tackle the European market, and is one of the first distributors based in the Middle East to attempt such a move. Maxtor’s willingness to promote Almasa’s distribution rights to a pan-EMEA status is indicative of the need to find truly regional partners with strong finances. Didier Trassaert, VP EMEA at Maxtor admits that the company is currently in the process of cancelling distribution agreements with some of its partners in EMEA. Given the process of commoditisation in the HDD space, price has become of paramount importance in the distribution channel. Almasa’s model clearly offers the potential for reducing infrastructure costs by only having front-end focused staff in Europe and using back-office facilities in Dubai. The real challenge will be in making contact with customers in the region, communicating the cost savings and displacing incumbent suppliers to the channel.

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