Distributor Merisel's top European executive has slammed competitors for trying to destabilise the company.
Sue Miller-Smith warned rivals to back off, after black rumours swept the industry last week that Merisel had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. 'Competitors are trying to create more perceived problems than really exist,' she said.
'I shall be ringing the leaders of other organisations to remind them of the legal consequences of their staff committing slander or libel. I thought it may be the European way when I first came here - a bit gossipy - but now I am tired of people committing slander.' Merisel last week appointed Merrill Lynch to investigate strategic options, including possible sales of individual units. Merisel's European operation is worth about $90 million, according to estimates by PAW Partners, a US financial house, the US trade magazine Computer Reseller News revealed.
Merisel Europe is expected to report improved profits for 1995, with every subsidiary except Holland declaring a profit. Merisel's master European warehouse in Holland came on stream in Q4 last year. It has now overcome well-publicised teething problems in supplying Germany, according to Miller-Smith.
She said criticism of the centralised master warehouse from other disties was misconceived. 'This is a flexible model. We are in the middle between decentralised customers and sometimes very centralised manufacturers. We can move one SKU at a time through local spokes or hundreds of pallets through our master warehouse.' Merisel last week sold its Australian subsidiary to Tech Pacific, the largest computer distributor in Australia. Tech Pacific has effectively shut down its main rival in the Australian market, sacking 90 of Merisel's 140 staff.
Tech Pacific, a unit of telecoms company First Pacific, said the undisclosed price of the acquisition was not substantal.
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