Empa takes aim at retail with new distribution entity

Rahb Hamidaddin, president of regional components and systems distributor Empa, has outlined his vision to take the company deeper into the retail space with the formation of a new distribution entity catering specifically to that market.

  • E-Mail
By  Andrew Seymour Published  December 6, 2006

Rahb Hamidaddin, president of regional components and systems distributor Empa, has outlined his vision to take the company deeper into the retail space with the formation of a new entity catering specifically to that market. Channel Middle East understands that Empa will launch a new distribution vehicle called “e-retail” in the coming weeks as it looks to increase its emphasis on the retail channel. The unit, which is set to target retail accounts in the UAE and Saudi, will initially be staffed by a team of eleven people. Six of those will concentrate on the UAE channel with the remainder taking care of Saudi. “Market trends clearly favour the end-user to do more business with the power retailers and we want to be a major player in that,” explained Hamidaddin. “These customers have a different cycle of business, different requirements and different product lines from our existing channel. That is why we need a new entity which understands the challenges of the retail business, and we have to align our goals and targets with that.” Empa, which carries brands such as Intel, LaCie and Asus, claims it is in negotiations with a number of consumer-focused vendors that it is keen to bring to the portfolio, although it is not yet in a position to reveal details. The renewed focus on retail is also being accompanied by a move to a new 7,600 square metre HQ in early 2007. Empa currently uses two standard warehouses with limited room for expansion, but the centre it is switching to in Jebel Ali will afford it far more capacity. “The new HQ will offer a much better environment, facilities and future expansion areas,” said Hamidaddin. “The warehouse will handle our entire inventory, even in peak seasons where we usually have to use a third party logistics provider. This will increase productivity in general, and our customers and employees will reap the benefits,” he added. While its imminent expansion has got Empa feeling quietly confident about its prospects for growth in 2007, Hamidaddin does not hide from the fact that the last 12 months have been extremely challenging for the local distribution sector: “This year has been another very difficult year for the IT distributors with several runaways causing instability and slow business for most of the year. And in the wider region, Saudi also suffered a stock market crash that put the brakes on many businesses,” he reflected. He claims the company has emerged relatively unscathed from those events with “minimum financial losses from the runaways” and an approximate 10% reduction in revenues. Hamidaddin also maintains that Empa will end the year with a profit. Meanwhile, Hamidaddin has commented for the first time on the recent departure of VP Savas Yucedag after 11 years with the company and denied that Empa is currently seeking a direct replacement. “We have no immediate plans to replace Savas as we have great confidence in the existing team to take the new load,” he said. “I will become more involved with the day-to-day business to insure stability and continuity. Savas was a great asset to Empa and we will miss his presence, but his involvement with Empa for so long has left its marks and many of our people have been trained by him.” Empa — which has been operating in Dubai for eight years — serves the wider MEA region although the bulk of its business originates from the UAE, Saudi and Egypt. The company, which achieved sales of US$107m in 2005 according to the Channel Middle East Power List published earlier this year, stocks everything from barebones and hard disk drives to fully built notebook PCs.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code