Distributor Ideal Hardware will embark on a pan-European expansion programme early next year, Computer Reseller News can exclusively reveal.
The company will expand into every leading European country, mainly through acquisitions. But it has yet to decide whether it will rebrand these businesses under its own name, or its parent's name, Bell Microproducts. Unlike the UK, each of these companies will also be exclusively focused on storage.
Alex Tatham, commercial director at Ideal, said the company had been investigating the possibilities of international expansion for several months and revealed that it had been bought by Bell to spearhead its drive into Europe.
"Our takeover deal was subject to expansion into new markets. We want to push a strong focus on storage and be represented across the continent," he said.
Bell owns a Dutch branch of US enterprise storage OEM Rorke Data Systems, which it bought earlier this year. Distribution analysts believe Rorke Data will be among the first firms to come under Ideal's control.
Ideal has previously exported products into Europe from the UK, but this move will give the company a physical presence in the region.
Paul Sangster, director at rival storage distributor Hammer, said Ideal was likely to be the first of a number of storage companies to make the jump to international trading, and that Hammer had also been pressured by vendors to make the transition.
"There are very few international storage distributors and there is definitely a space there that has yet to be filled," he said. "I think Ideal has made the right move. It is something that is also on our wish list but currently we are still expanding in the UK."
Brian Pierce, distribution analyst at market researcher IDC, agreed. "I think it is the right time for Ideal to expand because it has experience of trading into foreign markets from the UK and there are surprisingly few international storage-based businesses," he said. "Other companies will follow, but Ideal is in the first wave."
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