Comstor Middle East in talks with ‘affinity’ vendors

Cisco distributor Comstor is in the process of trying to secure Middle East distribution rights with vendors complementary to its portfolio and will endeavour to launch one new brand a month in the region, its managing director has revealed.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  July 11, 2007

Cisco distributor Comstor is in the process of trying to secure Middle East distribution rights with vendors complementary to its portfolio and will endeavour to launch one new brand a month in the region, its managing director has revealed.

Comstor's Middle East operation is keen to mirror the strategy of its European counterpart, which holds distribution contracts with almost 20 vendors offering products that can be deployed as part of a Cisco solution. These ‘affinity' vendors are designed to help resellers achieve additional revenue and get into bids where they may have previously lacked the right product set.

UPS giant APC, internet security firm Aladdin, data protection outfit SafeBoot and antivirus software expert Trend Micro are all established features of Comstor's European portfolio, along with power over Ethernet vendor PowerDsine and audio headset manufacturer Plantronics.

The distributor's Middle East team is now locked in discussions with a selection of the vendors it represents in Europe, but says it will only bring them to the Middle East if both parties are satisfied with the relationship.

"The issue here is that some of these vendors see this as an emerging market and therefore it has got different terms and conditions - maybe the payment terms are different," said Steve Lockie, managing director of Comstor Middle East (pictured). "Some don't work on a European basis in this part of the world. That could mean there are additional compliance controls that are necessary for the Middle East. Therefore the sales order process would be different and we'd need to make sure that we put that into our systems."

Comstor insists it has no plans to source inventory from its European operation against a vendor's wishes because of the damage it could do to the local relationship. It will also steer clear of brands that already have a settled distribution strategy here and don't want to upset their model.

However, Lockie is confident the firm will soon be in a position to announce the expansion of its portfolio following the interest that some affinity vendors have already shown in working with Comstor in the Middle East.

"We are having discussions with those vendors and what I've asked our guys to do is to formally launch one a month over the next 12 months," revealed Lockie. "That whole process means getting the contracts agreed, the supply chain agreed locally and the training programmes ready to go - both internally and externally - so that we can launch these vendors properly in the market."

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