Juniper and Almasa terminate partnership

Both parties agree to discontinue Middle East distribution relationship

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  September 17, 2008

IT distributor Almasa is winding down its Juniper business after becoming the latest casualty of the networking vendor’s channel restructuring exercise in the Middle East. Earlier this year Comguard was dropped from the line-up following a move by Juniper to refresh its distribution model.

Juniper says the split with Almasa is part of a renewed “strategic focus” that involves supplementing Dubai-based distributors with in-country partners.

“We have had good business with Almasa over the years. However, as our business shapes up to serve our long-term vision, which is more focused on working with channel partners who are investing heavily in Juniper and really serving our different markets — any changes that happen in distribution would happen along these lines,” said Taj El-Khayat, head of the enterprise channel group at Juniper Middle East.

Juniper’s distribution line-up now comprises Mindware, Online Distribution and Computerlinks, the latter being brought on board in the wake of the Comguard separation. With that structure now in place, the networking and security vendor’s focus has shifted to in-country distribution in markets such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

El-Khayat insists current distributors will be given an opportunity to build a local in-country business, but if that fails to produce results then it will look to recruit.

“If the existing partners believe that they can’t deliver or they don’t have the right momentum for that then that’s when we will go to option two, which is to start looking at local companies or other distributors willing to invest in those countries,” he revealed. “But my first priority is the people who have made the right investments and helped us reach wherever we have reached so far.”

Almasa, meanwhile, denies the split has caused it to contemplate the future of its value business, pointing out that it still has valued partnerships with Avaya, Blue Coat, Extreme Networks and HP ProCurve.

Frank Sheu, CEO at Almasa, said the decision to discontinue the Juniper partnership was taken by both sides and carried out “amicably”, with Juniper allowing the distributor to return surplus inventory.

Sheu said: “They changed their country manager last year and we also changed our networking business team manager. Both parties had some issues that needed addressing. The business was very different from our traditional vendors. It was very much linked to particular end-users and particular projects and both teams had some issues about what should be done so we have decided to part ways.”

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