Components distributor Asbis is closing its Irish office as it reorganises its business in the wake of the geopolitical crisis in Russia and Ukraine.
The eastern European powerhouse is in the process of shutting its outpost in County Mayo but is simultaneously adding headcount in the UK to build momentum for its own-branded Prestigio consumer electronics products.
At its peak the Irish office, which is situated in Knock Airport Business Park, employed 21 staff but only three remain in place as activities there are wound down, Asbis confirmed.
This has led to the redundancies of a handful of staff including UK and Ireland country manager Patricia Egan. The region is now being run by Asbis vice president Marcin Harasim.
Talking to CRN, Harasim confirmed the office closure is part of a company-wide cost-cutting programme designed to save $1m (£616,000) a month. This was sparked by events in Russia and Ukraine – two of Asbis' top three markets – which caused the distributor's Q2 sales to sink 22 per cent year on year to $362m.
However, Cyprus-headquartered Asbis is employing more staff in the UK as it looks to drum up sales for its Prestigio brand, which includes smartphones, tablets, external storage, leather-coated USB accessories and GPS devices, Harasim said.
"We want to develop new customers, particularly in the UK," he said. "We are talking to lots of famous names right now to develop Prestigio."
The distributor will also honour all services requirements of its existing UK and Irish customers, Harasim added.
Asbis, which is listed on the Warsaw stock exchange, expanded into the UK and Ireland in 1999.
Nick Smith, chief executive of UK tablet and LED manufacturer Elonex, said several of his staff defected to Asbis a couple of years back but added that he held no grudge.
"Prestigio and Canyon [Asbis' other own brand] was always very strong and the quality was generally very good," he said. "We lost staff to them but we wish them all the best as we decided to withdraw from the consumer tablet market two years ago."
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