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Deep Throat: tIMe for change?

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It’s been interesting to watch the industry reposition itself ahead of the Ingram Micro launch here – although the much-anticipated 1 June start got off more with a whisper than a bang, with many of us still waiting to find out what the product set’s going to be. 


Nonetheless, the rest of the industry seems to have decided that they need to take steps to defend their turf: not, of course, that this is the reasoning behind any moves – now or in the future.
However, the rearranging of the proverbial deck chairs has been an interesting exercise to watch – both actions that have happened and those that are rumoured to be in the offing.
* Mustek takes 100% of Rectron. Although no link has ever been mentioned, the fact that the largest local brand took over 100% of its components distributor subsidiary would certainly be a defensive strategy in terms of strengthening Rectron – and potentially removing the need for separate reporting.
* Sahara’s Gupta family back in the driver’s seat. Again, a coincidence, according to the publicity. However, after an absence of some years, Atul Gupta’s return to head up the local operation (especially when the Indian market is so much bigger) is interesting. Even more so, his very generous statements about Ingram Micro. Hmmm.
* And now there’s a rumour doing the rounds that Sahara is in the process of buying Drive Control, thereby lessening its dependence on components and getting Sahara into tier 1 brands. Further coincidence?
* And then there’s Westcon. This group is a little more distant from the components action, perhaps, but clearly sees the need to “get big or get out”. It’s just taken over Jet and Sparnoon, boosting its Africa revenues from around R500-million to a forecast R1,2-billion, and moving it more into the mainstream from the network-centric niche it was occupying.
Of course, these moves are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
No doubt the boardrooms of the local distribution industry are abuzz with schemes to enhance size, boost performance and fend off the perceived threat.
What will Axiz do? Will Pinnacle restructure? Is Comztek going to lose its independence as Rectron did? And what’s going to happen to smaller companies like TriCon and First Distribution?
It certainly is going to be an interesting second half to the year!