APC empowered by Schneider takeover

The acquisition of APC by French electrical equipment giant Schneider Electric will bolster the uninterruptible power supply specialist’s service and support operation, according to an executive at the US firm.

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By  Published  December 23, 2006

The acquisition of APC by French electrical equipment giant Schneider Electric will bolster the uninterruptible power supply specialist’s service and support operation, according to an executive at the US firm. Schneider agreed to buy APC in October for US$6.1 billion to strengthen its electrical distribution business (see IT Weekly 4-10 November 2006). The company already has a strong presence at the high end of the intelligent power protection market through its subsidiary MGE UPS Systems. Speaking to IT Weekly, Peter Hannaford, business development director for APC Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), admitted service had not been his firm’s “best point”, but said combining the resources of both companies would turn this around. “MGE has traditionally been strong at the higher end of power supply and in service. APC is very good at the low end and, maybe sometimes because of our growth, service hasn’t been particularly our best point,” Hannaford conceded. “I think the acquisition will help the service side of our business, for sure. “There are two companies with their existing infrastructure, so putting them together, that’s got to be pretty good,” Hannaford went on to add. Philip Hughes, APC MEA regional manager, described the level of service in the Middle East as “solid”, but said it differed greatly from what customers in the US or Western Europe would expect. “What we are hoping for moving forward is to upgrade the level of support and service into the market, because as solutions get more complex we need more complex engineering support and resources,” Hughes explained. “The objective is regionalisation, which means bringing the call centres that were previously in Europe, technical support and customer service at the very front end closer to the market,” he stated. APC announced, prior to the acquisition, it had revamped its regional set-up to improve its support infrastructure in the Middle East and lay a foundation for expansion in the region. It said at the time that this included major investment in Dubai over the coming months. Hannaford said all investment was currently on hold until the acquisition had been final- ised — which is due for completion in the first quarter of 2007 — but was positive about APC’s future in the region.

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