As reported earlier in a world exclusive on IT-Online, the world's biggest distributor, Ingram Micro, will officially open a subsidiary in South Africa on 1 June. 


Ingram Micro South Africa is a joint venture between US-based Ingram and one of the country's biggest distribution groups, MB Technologies. Each of the groups will have a 50% stake in the local subsidiary.
The new office is the culmination of literally years of on-off negotiations between the two groups. Ingram has expressed interest in the South African market since the mid-1990s and at one stage considered buying the now-defunct SDD (Siltek Distribution Dynamics).
"It's something that we've been in discussions about for a very long, long time," says MB Technologies executive chairman, Leo Baxter. "Finally it's happened."
The joint venture will mainly affect MB Tech group company Storgate, parts of which – mainly infrastructure and staff – will be folded into Ingram Micro SA.
The storage solutions side of Storgate will become a separate company and be renamed – it won't be Stortech; there was a management buyout (MBO) of this division some months ago.
Initial staffing of Ingram SA will be around 150, expected to grow to over 200 by the end of the year, and it will be situated at MB Technologies' new facilities at Linbro Park.
This office complex and 6 000 square metre warehouse facility is currently being used by Storgate and for overflow from other group companies such as Tarsus.
Ingram SA's stockholding hasn't been finalised, but it will eventually take over the whole Linbro facility.
"It will take us a few months to bed down the various brands, but it is going to be a big distributor, make no mistake," says Baxter. "Ingram Micro is a $30-billion organisation and its the first real global distributor to come to this market."
In its first venture into Africa, Ingram Micro has restricted itself to distributing components only. But Baxter says this could change in the future.
"Initially, we will only be distributing comonents, but there is the potential – by agreement – to bring in other products," he says. "Of course, we wouldn't want to compete with the rest of the group in areas where they are well established, but we have a handle on that.
"It really is going to be run as a joint venture, so we must agree on areas that we go into. I don't anticipate any problems."
It couldn't be established at the time of going to press who will head Ingram Micro SA, but reliable sources indicate that it will be a South African.