Channel News

Bell Microproducts Purchases Almo Division<@VM>Merisel Marches Toward Financial Turnaround<@VM>Synnex Partners With Compaq, Minority Firms<@VM>Pinacor Opens New Jersey Distribution Plant<@VM>Tech Data Begins Selling Nonbranded Computers

By Richard McCaffery

Bell Microproducts Inc. completed its $20.3 million acquisition of the computer products division of Almo Corp., Philadelphia, Nov. 16.

Bell officials said the acquisition will increase the company's presence on the East Coast and improve its product offerings to major customers such as the federal government. San Jose, Calif.-based Bell purchased the Almo division with a five-year warrant for 350,000 shares of Bell common stock.

The Almo division sells disk drives, monitors, the Trademark brand of computers and other products. It posted sales of $146 million for the year ending April 30.

Bell, a computer distribution company, had 1997 sales of $534 million and sales of $450 million for the first nine months of 1998.Merisel Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., posted its third straight quarter of profitability, increased sales and net income, marking a sharp turnaround for a company that has had three straight years of losses totaling $240 million.

For the period ending Sept. 30, the computer distributor reported sales of $1.1 billion and net income of $7.6 million, or 9 cents a share. For the same quarter last year the company had sales of $965 million and losses of $9 million, or 29 cents a share.

So far this year, Merisel has reported net income of $16.3 million on sales of $3.4 billion, compared to a loss of $8 million on sales of $2.7 billion for the first nine months of 1997. The company attributes its turnaround to better cost controls, new partnerships and programs, a sales strategy focused on North America and a lower debt burden.Synnex Information Technologies Inc. of Fremont, Calif., is boosting its presence in the federal government market by joining a partnership program aimed at helping minority-owned companies.

Under Compaq Computer Corp.'s Minority Partner 8(a) Program, Synnex will give business development assistance to 8(a) companies competing to win contracts with the federal government. Synnex officials expect to strengthen their relationships with 8(a) companies and Houston-based Compaq through the partnership.

Synnex, an international computer distribution company, expects 1998 revenue to exceed $2.4 billion. Pinacor Inc. has opened a 150,000-square-foot distribution center in Paulsboro, N.J., to speed delivery to its customers along the Atlantic coast.

In the United States, Pinacor now has distribution centers in Cincinnati; Miami; Paulsboro; Reno, Nev.; and Tempe, Ariz. The company also has expanded its product line.

The company, a division of MicroAge Inc., is the third largest distributor of computer products in the United States with projected 1998 sales of $5 billion.
Tech Data Corp. of Clearwater, Fla., is now selling nonbranded computers, workstations and servers along with warranties to back them up.

Rival distribution company Ingram Micro Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., announced a similar warranty program in September.

Though manufacturers such as Dell Computer Corp., Round Rock, Texas, and Compaq Computer Corp. of Houston have become household names, industry research shows that 30 percent to 40 percent of all systems sold today are nonbranded, and Tech Data is looking to capture market share.

Tech Data sells more than 75,000 computer products to more than 100,000 resellers worldwide. The company had pro forma sales of $12 billion last year.

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