Computerlinks, parent company of security distributor Unipalm, has stretched it wings across the pond and expanded its operations into the US.
Computerlinks North America launched last week into the US and will initially distribute CrossBeam, Clearswift and ActivCard security products, as well as voice over IP and associated services.
Kirsty Davies, marketing director for North America at Computerlinks, said it will look to add new vendors soon. “We were encouraged by vendors to expand into North America and it is as yet an unfulfilled market,” she claimed.
Davies added that the expansion may also bring positive benefits for its larger UK resellers. “The move will see us partnering with a new range of resellers, but we will also look to extend partnerships with the North American arms of UK-based resellers, if the opportunity arises,” she said.
However, UK rivals were sceptical about the move. Ian Kilpatrick, chief executive of the Wick Hill distribution group, said: “It will be an interesting challenge for Computerlinks as North America has a reputation as a graveyard for European distributors. The distribution model in North America is not the same as vendors use them in a very different way.”
Mukesh Gupta, managing director of security distributor e92plus, agreed and said Computerlinks was making a bold move. “North American distribution is so different to what it is over here. Computerlinks is a value-added distributor. In the US, distribution tends to be less value-add and if Computerlinks doesn’t appreciate
this then it will find the market there difficult,” he said.
Computerlinks latest move came following a £13.8m increase in turnover for its second quarter of 2005, also unveiled last week. The firm suffered a £0.3m reduced gross margin during its second quarter, ended 30 June, compared to £2.7m in the corresponding quarter of last year.
Computerlinks acquired security distributor Unipalm for £30m in 2000 and is also part-owned by the UK computer services group Fayrewood.
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