O’Keeffe plots EU mobile assault


DCC SerCom looking to replicate mobile ‘success’ of Micro-P in international markets; Micro-P brand to be phased out ‘when time is right’, Exertis UK and Ireland MD reveals

Exertis Micro-P parent company DCC SerCom plans to extend its mobile distribution business from the UK into Europe for the first time.

The plans were revealed exclusively to Mobile News last week by Exertis’s new UK and Ireland MD, Gerry O’Keeffe (pictured), who will oversee the expansion.

O’Keeffe said discussions with handset manufacturer partners had not yet begun, but the firm was keen on replicating the “success” it had achieved with mobile at Micro-P (which represents 30 per cent of its UK business) in its other markets.

Proposed areas for mobile distribution include France, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Poland.

O’Keeffe said: “Today we purely distribute handsets in the UK and Ireland, but we are now looking at representing our vendors in all the territories we operate in.”

But O’Keeffe insisted a move would only be made if direct partnerships with manufacturers were established. Micro-P currently has distribution deals in the UK with Samsung, Nokia, LG and, more recently, Sony.

“It is all dependent on the vendors,” O’Keeffe said. “We will only operate where we have a direct distribution agreement with a vendor in a particular territory. We will never go down the route of trading cross-border.

“We have learnt a lot over the past couple of years, and vendors have learnt a lot about the focus we can bring. The success we have had in the UK and Ireland we believe will help us in those conversations.”

The news follows SerCom’s decision last month to rebrand all 14 of its IT, home entertainment and mobile business divisions as Exertis in order to create a single global identity (see page 45).

Micro-P branding will be phased out “when the time is right”, O’Keefe said, and the UK division will be known as Exertis UK. “Ultimately, the strategy will be to become Exertis in every country as a standalone brand,” he added.

O’Keeffe also revealed DCC has set ambitious targets for Exertis to become the third biggest distributor of technology products in Europe behind Ingram Micro and Tech Data within the next three to four years.

He claimed SerCom is fifth at present, but said with its current momentum, the addition of new revenue streams such as mobile and operating under a single identity, it can achieve its goal.

O’Keeffe said: “We are 14 businesses operating in numerous different countries and continents, but nobody would recognise us as we operate under so many different names. We wanted to make sure our vendors could associate all the businesses with each other and recognise we are all part of DCC.”

A number of acquisitions in western Europe are also being lined up, O’Keeffe said, but he would not discuss details.

“The whole focus of Exertis is to enable us to demonstrate to the vendors across all the different territories who and what we are,” he said.

He also revealed a consolidation exercise will shortly begin in the UK. This, according to O’Keeffe, will see the company’s current number of distribution centres reduced from six to just “one or two” larger upgraded ones.

O’Keeffe declined to disclose which of the centres would be affected, but he insisted the changes would not affect current job numbers.

*Figures on the graph show financial growth achieved by DCC SerCom since 2011