Brightstar claims global leadership in distribution

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In an exclusive interview US distributor Brightstar claims it leads the market for global distribution and reveals record growth in 2010

US-based distributor Brightstar has declared itself the global leader in telecoms distribution.

The claim comes from Brightstar CEO Marcelo Claure (pictured), responding to comments made by rival Brightpoint president Robert Laikin to Mobile News, in October.

In the interview, Laikin labelled his company market-leader and Brightstar “a box shifter”. Claure describes Laikin’s comments as “false” and “unfounded”.

“Comments about us box shifting shows ignorance to what we do. If this was the case margins would be significantly lower,” said Claure.

Claure said Brightstar operates in 56 markets – compared to Brightpoint’s 50 – with Russia and 10 African countries added since October. He says Brightstar generates more sales and profit than any other distributor.

“Brightstar had its best Q4 (2010) since being established. We had six consecutive record breaking months for sales and revenues” he told Mobile News.

Brightpoint is quoted on the Nasdaq Exchange whereas Brightstar is a private company and not required to disclose its figures. This has left Brightstar vulnerable to criticism in the past on performance claims.

But Claure showed Mobile News Brightstar’s Ernst and Young audited accounts. These indicate Brightstar’s net-revenue grew by £690 million, or 74.7 per cent between Q3 2009 and Q3 2010, compared with Brightpoint’s growth of 2.7 per cent to £549 million in the same period.

Brightstar’s Q3 year-on-year gross profit was up 40.6 per cent from £41.9 million to £59.53 million. Brightpoint showed an increase of 4.7 per cent from £45.1 million to £47.2 million.

Brightstar’s figures show its EBITDA grew 7.8 per cent to £18.3 million, double that of Brightpoint’s rise of 3.2 per cent to £9.51 million. However, Brightpoint said this assessment of its earnings for the period did not match its own.

Claure declined to reveal how many handsets Brightstar ships annually. Brightpoint says it sold 99 million last year worldwide.

He added: “Some estimates put market growth at between 14 and 20 per cent. The fact we are growing at more than 70 per cent tells you our services are in high demand.”

In response a Brightpoint spokesperson said: “In 2010, Brightpoint customised, distributed and shipped approximately 99 million mobile devices. We are proud of our accomplishments.”
Brightpoint president Robert Laikin declined to respond to Claure’s remarks.

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