German vendor Siemens Nixdorf (SNI) took a 10 per cent share in Vobis last week in an attempt to improve its buying muscle and increase its PC market share.
At the Cebit trade fair in Hanover last week, the firm said orders had risen by 10 per cent to over DM5 million in the first five months of its financial year.
The move closely mirrors the equity stake it has in Escom and cost SNI an estimated $45 million. At the beginning of the month it increased its share in Escom from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent.
Gerhard Schulmeyer, SNI chief executive officer, confirmed that the stake would improve his company's position. 'The motivation was to create opportunities for joint bulk buying and to benefit from the economies of scale,' he said.
Schulmeyer is determined to turn SNI into an international PC company, and although it is by far the most dominant force in the local market, it faces increasing competition from more established players, including Compaq.
Analysts estimate that European companies only have a market share of around 26 per cent while US-based companies such as IBM and Compaq hold 47 per cent.
Escom, Vobis and SNI have sales of 2.5 million in Germany, but Escom turned in losses of DM120 million last year. Analysts say the company's acquisition of the Rumbelows chain last year could prove an expensive mistake.
As the prices of components fall, the ability to buy in volume through an arrangement with Escom and Vobis will give SNI additional leverage with Intel and DRam manufacturers.
Vobis has assembly technology which SNI covets. Last year it spent 15 million Deutschemarks which allow it to build PCs to customer specifications.
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