Assessing the Loay of the land

With a prosperous history of Indian Ocean trade and an eight-year membership of the World Trade Organisation, Oman boasts an IT market that is today enjoying continued stability, both inside its borders and externally. 115-strong corporate reseller Loay International is one of the firms aiming to take full advantage of the positive current.

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By  Administrator Published  February 19, 2008

With a prosperous history of Indian Ocean trade and an eight-year membership of the World Trade Organisation, Oman boasts an IT market that is today enjoying continued stability, both inside its borders and externally. 115-strong corporate reseller Loay International is one of the firms aiming to take full advantage of the positive current.

Ruwi-based Loay International - which operates five showrooms in Oman - has steadily been reaping the rewards of a public and private sector that continues to show an appetite for IT infrastructure. The firm counts more than 10 government contracts among the largest projects that it handles, giving a clear indication of its influence and reach in the Omani commercial channel.

Anticipating the needs of such clients and other corporate entities, as well as maintaining the company's ties to weighty international vendors such as Microsoft, TATA and 3Com, is half the battle as far as the company is concerned. "Our plans are to focus even more on corporate customers," admitted Loay Ali Al Fadhel, CEO at the reseller.

We basically have the right product and service to give them. I am sure those multinational customers and local customers will definitely expect some kind of an extra ordinary service, whether it is after-sales service or delivery, so we are working to enhance all of these aspects of our business," he added.

Having successfully developed a large portfolio of ministry leads, Loay has also begun cross-marketing with the likes of OmanTel and Oman Mobile to provide special offers on laptops for teachers.

This promotion, in conjunction with Oman's Ministry of Education, is an example of the alliances that resellers need to strike to maintain their market share. "Education is an important opportunity for us and we are the only company to launch the scheme. We want to find the right product that will serve the needs of an organisation," asserted Fadhel.

Loay claims its varied product "basket" - which includes brands such as BenQ, Acer and Epson - coupled with its established portfolio of infrastructure services gives it the edge in the tight-knit confines of the Omani market.

In its last publicised figures for 2006, Loay recorded a turnover of US$14m and the company expects to see a significant improvement in 2008.

"Take the 2006 figures, add 25% and you will more or less reach the figure we are trying to target," revealed Fadhel, although he admits that is subject to the company overcoming challenges such as recruiting the right personnel to beef up its 115-strong workforce.

The threat of cross-border competition from the neighbouring UAE market cannot be ignored either, and Loay isn't the only Omani reseller which knows it must evolve its business to enhance its position.

Fadhel, however, is not fazed by this conundrum, claiming that such developments in the regional market also work in its favour with companies setting up offices in Oman as they expand in the Gulf. That only serves to widen the company's prospective customer base.

Fadhel views the development of a close and communicative channel as paramount to its success. "The channel always faces the same challenges, but maintaining the communication remains the key, whether it is about the cash crunch or the customers over-demanding.

If his insinuations are anything to go by, then Loay International may soon be spreading its wings in other sectors courtesy of partnerships with similar companies in non-competitive areas of its business.

There are three or four initiatives, or partner alliances with companies, that are under close study," he confessed. "One will be in the software industry and one will be computer systems. As soon as they are finalised it will be publicised. We cannot live without alliances.

Loay Int.

Address: 1st Floor, Ruwi Gold Souk Building, PO Box 1886, Postal Code 112, Oman

Contact:

Tel (+968) 2479 4700

Fax (+968) 2470 8795

Headcount: 115

Vendor partners: Microsoft, TATA, 3Com, BSeen International, Acer, Epson, BenQ

Market focus: Loay International's core product expertise lies in software, hardware and networking. With showrooms in various locations around Oman, its main focus is corporate customers including government bodies, but it also serves individual consumers.

Website: www.loayoman.com

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