UK distributor ASM Technologies has taken its first step into continental Europe with a new office in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The firm has been doing business in Germany for more than 20 years, according to sales director Iain Tomkinson, but claims it is now responding to customer demand for ASM to have an in-country presence.
"Most of our key partners already have German connections or a significant presence in Germany. It's those customers asking us to do more for them in those regions who have led us to ramp up the footprint for our business," he said.
"We've had a German team based in the UK for some time, so we already have German nationals and speakers in the business and that will remain in the UK.
"However, having the local touch means that we are a little bit more viable, a little bit more realistic."
Tomkinson said that the expansion is part of ASM's move to become a bigger player across Europe, naming France as a future mid-term target for further organic expansion.
"Our core strategy is to have a centralised model so our partners, no matter where they are in Europe, will have a centralised partner in the form of ASM that they can work with providing a local service," he said.
"To support that, most of the vendors we work with provide us with EMEA rights to establish a stronger presence for them in European regions as well.
"In terms of France, the labour laws are more complex… [but] we'd be daft to ignore France."
Dusseldorf's proximity to top universities and the Benelux market was also a lure for the Cheshire-based company.
"The area is also a large target for future staff…There are already quite a lot of tech companies in the area that we know well…It's also great in terms of access from the UK. Plus, it's near the Dutch border which is somewhere we do quite a lot of activity," said Tomkinson.
In its last financial year, which ended on 31 March, the firm smashed through its £50m (€56.5m) turnover target. ASM's growth priorities include increasing sales from Germany to £10m "this financial year".
To help meet that sales target, Tomkinson said that ASM's new country manager for Germany is looking to add to the Dusseldorf office's current headcount of five.
"We're probably looking to recruit an extra five to six people to be in country in the next six months," he said.
With two offices in the UK, ASM's Dusseldorf venture is only its third base with sales staff. Across the business, the firm currently has around 70 staff.
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