Brightstar closes gap on rivals

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Strong Q4 sales across Europe and purchase of Austrian distributor AKL suggest Brightstar Europe growth is outstripping distribution rivals on the continent

Brightstar Europe has closed the gap on leading European distributors Brightpoint and 20:20 Mobile with the purchase of $100 million Austrian firm AKL Telecommunications, as well as good growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, sustained through the first part of 2010.

In a recent investors’ call, Robert Dutkowsky, chief executive of  Brightstar Europe joint venture partner Tech Data, said Brightstar Europe put through sales of more than $200 million (£132m) in the fourth quarter of 2009. Brightstar Europe figures for neither full-year 2009, nor 2010 to date, are available.

By comparison, Brightpoint recorded revenue of $1.67 billion  (£1.1bn) in EMEA in 2009, a slide of 31 per cent on 2008, and 20:20 Mobile claimed £991.6 million in the period, which rallied up 16 per cent.

Brightstar Europe’s UK unit outruns its operations in Germany, Spain, Holland and Belgium by some margin, which suggests Brightstar Europe is also closing on Data Select (£161m) and trader-distributor RP Europe (£163m) in UK revenue terms, a way behind 20:20 Mobile still (£389m).

Brightstar Europe refused to comment on revenue or performance.

Its acquisition of AKL Telecommunications, which turned over around $100 million (£66m) in 2009, is subject to approval by the Austrian regulator and is expected to close at the end of the month.

Brightstar Europe president Rod Millar (pictured) said: “The agreement is further evidence of Brightstar Europe’s pan-European growth strategy. AKL has an excellent reputation with a skilled workforce, a strong vendor portfolio and a loyal customer base.”

AKL Telecommunications has direct agreements with Nokia, Samsung and LG, now supplemented by Brighstar Europe’s pan-European supply deal with BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion. It also distributes Orange airtime. It is understood to have around 500 dealers, business resellers and high street retail customers.

AKL owner Wolfgang Atzinger will remain with the company as a consultant. Kurt Dojaczek will lead the team.

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