Almasa drafted in as Seagate splits from Mindware

Hard drive vendor Seagate has split with distributor Mindware and appointed Almasa as a replacement in what represents the third major change to its Middle East line-up since the company revealed its post-Maxtor distribution strategy last September.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  July 1, 2007

Hard drive vendor Seagate has split with distributor Mindware and appointed Almasa as a replacement in what represents the third major change to its Middle East line-up since the company revealed its post-Maxtor distribution strategy last September.

Almasa, which commenced its new role this week, is authorised to carry the vendor's range of desktop, retail, enterprise and notebook drives across the Middle East and Africa. The distributor already holds Maxtor rights and claims its involvement with Seagate through this franchise paved the way for the expansion of the relationship.

Vijendra Singh, senior product manager at Almasa, explained: "After the Seagate-Maxtor merger, which was officially completed in December 2006, Seagate wanted to review all the Maxtor distributors on compliance issues as well as the ability to grow channel breadth. They conducted a detailed audit and various checks and saw our IT infrastructure. They were surprised to see Almasa's capability in IT infrastructure and business models, which surpassed their expectations."

The line-up of distributors permitted to sell both Seagate and Maxtor products in the Middle East has changed dramatically in the nine months since the hard drive manufacturer disclosed its post-Maxtor brand strategy.

Out of the six distributors originally given franchises for both product portfolios, only Asbis, FDC and Logicom still remain. Seagate's association with eSys was dissolved in October 2006 following a clash over a global sales audit, while the HDD vendor's agreement with Tech Data Middle East came to an abrupt halt when the US-based broadliner axed its UAE operations in March this year. Mindware, meanwhile, ended its contract with the vendor last week.

Thierry Chamayou, deputy general manager at Mindware, confirmed the pair had reached a "mutual agreement" to go their separate ways after failing to achieve the results both parties desired.

"In this type of game, volume is one thing, margin is the other, and one leads to the other," said Chamayou. "Profit expectations are made from the volume times the profit that you make. We had certain expectations and maybe they had some certain expectations. Their expectations have to be on volume, ours has to be on the profit."

While Chamayou denied the move signalled Mindware's exit from the hard drive distribution business, he did insist the company was "not in a hurry" to replace Seagate, nor would it rush into signing a new hard drive brand on the back of the split.

Although Seagate clearly believes the latest revisions to its channel strategy offer it the market coverage it requires, a source at one Seagate distributor in the region expressed his surprise at the changes. "Right now I am seeing that Seagate will be too over-distributed if we count companies who have the rights to sell into this region," commented the source. "You will find Ingram Micro, Avnet, Asbis, FDC, Logicom and now Almasa. This is too much, especially if you compare Seagate to Intel, which has faced over-distribution in the past but is now committed to three distributors in this region."

Seagate had not been able to get back to us with comment at the time of publication.

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