Opinion

Expanding and consolidating

What range of printers that you would be looking to distribute from OKI
Al Eqtessad is now selling and servicing OKI printing equipments in Saudi Arabia through its own team of sales professionals and service engineers. In fact, the deal is about a takeover of the previous OKI distribution, Al Shoaibi Group, after which the latter decided to withdraw from the IT distribution and return to its traditional markets of downstream oil and gas etc. It was an amicable take over where Al Eqtessad acquired the complete sales and service staff of Al Shoaibi, working for OKI products, their stock of OKI was also bought over by us. That means we have pre-trained staff which will now drive the OKI business with a new direction and thrust from Al Eqtessad.
With our existence in Saudi Arabia since 1976, we have developed our network and relationships which we will leverage for growing market share for OKI. Moreover, with our professional team of over 200 professionals spread across three branches in KSA, we will explore more segments where OKI can be positioned. Al Eqtessad is currently the only company which will be importing OKI in the Saudi Arabian markets. Al Eqtessad will then distribute OKI products to dealers and resellers. While OKI will be available through the direct sales team of Al Eqtessad it will also be available through the resellers.
Al Eqtessad has three offices in KSA. With head office in Riyadh, there are two branch offices in Jeddah and Damam. The Company has a total strength of over 200 professionals thoroughly trained in their field of expertise. The new OKI team will add on to the strength of the company.
How elaborate your other existing businesses and whether IT distribution is a growing focus for your company?
Al Eqtessad has been operational in Saudi Arabia for more than 30 years and is one of the leading organisations for printing equipments. The company originally started with office furniture business which is still one of the strong business units for Al Eqtessad.
The I.T. division of Al Eqtessad has both hardware (on the document management side) and software solutions in the portfolio. The focus on I.T. continues and will grow further with addition of more and more software offerings. IT distribution has always been an area of focus for us and that shows in the continuous growth of our market share in the country.
Do you distribute other printer brands?
Yes. We already have Oce, HP, Panasonic, Contex and Epson in our portfolio of printers, scanners and copiers. There are many software products as well that we distribute. So far we were lacking a strong product range in the low to medium volume colour MFP segment for office environment. OKI perfectly complements our portfolio in filling up that gap.
Which are the likely segments that you would be targeting?
We will primarily look at office and education segment for OKI. Print-for-pay and Graphic Arts industry will also be targeted for OKI. The focus though would remain on the office and education segments as OKI MFPs deliver excellent value there. 
How do you think the slowdown has impacted KSA? Or do you think KSA is doing much better compared to other markets?
KSA markets are one of the least effected markets as far as our business is concerned. We are still registering growth and expect the trend to continue, especially with OKI coming into our portfolio. KSA is the largest and the most stable market in the region and it will continue to be a focal point for our business.
In addition to that, our business is very well complemented by the vision of the Saudi Arabian Government. Education is the focal point of the governmental policies in the country and I.T. plays a very important role in education. So, indirectly, the push from the government towards education also provides a boost to our business.
 

Philippe G. Husni, Business Consultant with Al Eqtessad M.D. discusses the tie-up with OKI as well plans for consolidation

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