Blaze LFPs catch light in the Middle East

Industrial printing specialist Blaze has enjoyed one of its most successful appearances at Sign and Graphic Middle East 2006. This comes in the wake of the recent acquisition of the vendor by HP.

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By  Andy Tillett Published  February 9, 2006

Industrial printing specialist Blaze has enjoyed one of its most successful appearances at Sign and Graphic Middle East 2006. This comes in the wake of the recent acquisition of the vendor by HP. “This is the first time a major company has come in to the wide format arena and made an acquisition like this, making it no longer a niche industry,” said Ashish Panjabi at Jacky’s Electronics, the master distributor for Blaze printers in the UAE. The combination of HPs brand equity and market muscle with Blaze’s long standing position in the market has led to greater confidence from potential buyers looking to seal deals at the show. “We have sold a lot of machines, our whole year of production is assigned. Anyone wanting a new printer now will have to wait,” said Domingo Nieves, general manager at HP inkjet industrial division Middle East and Africa. “We have sold printers in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. The Saudi Arabian sale in particular, is very important for us to further penetrate into the market.” Blaze’s 300 square metre stand was offset by HP’s other stand, in the same hall, which unveiled another new venture, an OEM agreement with Seiko I Infotech to produce two new outdoor graphic printing model, aimed at the commercial market. While these models don not have exactly the same target market as the Blaze range, there is an overlap. “Our customers are more industrial than commercial, but if you look at the two boxes’ [target markets] they are touching each other on a certain percentage of growth area and this has to be managed. Sometimes one of my customers may buy one of the new models, and this is something we have to look at,” explained Nieves. The acquisition of Blaze has opened up more distribution potential through HP’s reseller network, but there is still some work to be done in bringing the two channels in line. “I think that we can arrange it so HP distributors get a finders fee for hunting out business. There could be a small effect on the margin for our distributors, by giving some fee to the HP partners, but by contrast the volume of sales will be greater. I don’t know how it will balance out yet – I think the main problem in the future will be in manufacturing to meet demand, not the selling,” concluded Nieves.

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