Ingram Micro to distribute components in Africa

Speculation that broadline distribution giant Ingram Micro will one day dip its toe in Middle East waters looks set to intensify after the US-based firm revealed plans to open an office in Johannesburg later this year. The move — in partnership with MB Technologies — marks Ingram's first foray into MEA territory.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  February 15, 2007

Speculation that broadline distribution giant Ingram Micro will one day dip its toe in Middle East waters looks set to intensify after the US-based firm revealed plans to open an office in Johannesburg later this year. The move, which is in partnership with heavyweight South African IT supplier MB Technologies, marks Ingram Micro’s first official foray into MEA territory. Ingram intends to have the unit operating from June 1st and will use its new base to address customers across the broad sub-Saharan territory. This will cover everything from South Africa in the south to Ethiopia to the north and Liberia to the west. Although Ingram carries a vast range of ICT equipment in its portfolio, the office will focus exclusively on components. There has been no comment yet from the company on whether this will change over time. “We are delighted to enter into this partnership with MB Technologies who for some time we have recognised as one of the very best technology distributors in South Africa, and to lay together the foundations of Ingram Micro South Africa”, said Hans Koppen, president at Ingram Micro Europe. “Expanding our footprint into Africa with a company that has great insight to the local market, strong relationships with local VARs, and who really understands the reseller channel is an attractive proposition for our company,” he added. Koppen claims Ingram’s expansion will provide an excellent opportunity for component vendors to access a new and rapidly growing market. “As for our new customers in Southern Africa, they will benefit from an expanded product portfolio and the one-stop components shopping experience Ingram Micro provides,” he added. MB Technologies, which is 26% owned by Royal Bafokeng Holdings, remains one of the largest IT outfits in the South African market with a number of key distribution firms, including Tarsus Technologies, ACT and Storgate within its group structure. Leo Baxter, CEO at MB Technologies, believes the alliance with Ingram will boost the company’s standing in the components space. “We are now ready to move beyond our focus on providing complete, end-to-end solutions to resellers and their customers and we want to take advantage of opportunities we see in the components sector to deliver high-quality components at lower costs to the South African system integrator market,” he explained. Ingram Micro, which is already one of the biggest distributors in Asia — and specifically India — claims its venture into South Africa displays its appetite to expand into new geographies. Ingram has long been touted with a move into the Middle East through a partnership or acquisition involving a regional broadliner. As yet, no such move has ever come to fruition. Volume and components distributors will no doubt be watching anxiously to see if the new South African operation proves to be a prelude to its eventual arrival in North Africa or the Gulf.

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