Datrontech Group has bought a stake in Dutch PC assembler Laser Computer Holding in a move that will beef up its assembly credentials as it diversifies further from component distribution.
Expanding on its European interests, the UK distributor paid #29,000 for 45 per cent of the holding company, which has itself bought Laser Computer Europe from MicroMundo. The purchase is being conducted through International Computer Products (ICP), the Dutch subsidiary Datrontech bought two years ago (PC Dealer, 3 December 1997).
According to the terms of the agreement, Datrontech is providing Laser Computer with a #116,000 loan that will serve as working capital. The remaining 55 per cent of the company will be controlled by a group of investors including Laser Computer management.
Mark Mulford, chief executive of Datrontech, said the deal meant Datrontech would become Laser Computer's preferred supplier of PC components and the distributor would increase its PC assembly capacity of 20,000 units per year at the ICP unit in Holland. Laser assembles up to 40,000 units per year.
'A lot of our customers are asking for white-box and bare-bones PCs and a lot of our competitors have developed white-box production off the back of channel assembly,' he said. Mulford insisted that Datrontech was not interested in channel assembly.
Laser, an Intel and AMD-based computer assembler for the consumer and corporate markets, had net assets of #2.1 million at the end of the financial year ended 31 March 1998. According to Mulford, the company had 'huge debt provisions last year but has since been trading quite happily'.
Despite a depressed stock price by the City, Mulford said the distributor was constantly on the lookout for sound investments, although it had 'no plans on the ground at the moment'.
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