Brightstar makes big accessories move

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Brightstar eyes 20:20 and Data Select market share as it targets £180 million in annual revenue from accessories across Europe

Handset distributor Brightstar Europe is to become a “major” distributor of mobile accessories across the UK and in Europe following the acquisition of accessory specialist Battrex.

Brightstar Europe acquired accessory specialist Battrex last year after buying its parent company Triade. The deal also included handset distributor Mobile Communication Company (MCC), specialist in mobility products in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.

Mobile News understands Brightstar plans to use the skill-set and management experience in Battrex to replicate its model across its 18 European markets.

Sources close to the distributor say it will recruit up to 60 people across Europe to build the new business this year, including a senior vice-president position, who will report directly to Brightstar Europe president Rod Millar – who refused to comment.

Battrex, understood to be the number-one accessory distributor in Holland, has an annual turnover of about £25.5 million dealing in local markets only.

It’s claimed Brightstar wants to replicate its success on handset distribution with accessories, having previously given it minimal focus. The company is said to have an annual turnover of £60 million across its European footprint from accessories, but is looking to treble this figure once its accessory division is established and take significant market share from UK rivals and abroad.
Revenues for Brightstar Europe are understood to be £1.25 billion a year, with more than 70 per cent from organic growth.

Battrex, which sells to dealers, retailers and e-tailers, has over 50 brands available, ranging from headsets, car kits, broadband dongles, batteries and GPS tracking. Established in 1983, it is an official distributor of accessory brands like Jabra, HTC and BlackBerry.

Brightstar has distribution agreements with the “majority” of big IT and mobile accessory brands in Europe, and will use its pan-European deal with RIM and its “master partnership” contract for supply of HTC.

Brightstar is understood to have begun early discussions with mobile accessory specialists in the UK and will target, among others, mobile and IT resellers, retailers, e-tailers and network operators.

A source close to Brightstar said: “Brightstar is serious about becoming a global distributor for accessories and has everything in place to do that now. A move to accessories seems like a natural progression for a company of its size.

“The acquisition of Battrex will give it dominance in the Netherlands but also the ability to expand its accessory lines in other markets; 2011 will be a significant year for Brightstar and the UK will play a big part in its ambitions.”

Brightstar has sales, logistics and distribution offices in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Spain, UK, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland.

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