Splitsville for CHA, CHS and NAI

Splitsville for CHA, CHS and NAI

Melbourne-based distributor Computer Hardware of Australia (CHA) has finally cancelled its sale agreement with the US-based CHS Electronics, after months of uncertainty scuttled the relationship.

CHS acquired CHA in July 1999 through an "earn out" relationship that would have been completed in July 2001, but numerous financial woes left CHS unable to meet its obligations.

CHA's chief executive officer, Stephen Sampson said CHS would retain the option to match any offer from any other party that may take an interest in purchasing CHA in the future.

"The net effect of this change is that CHA is now the only independently owned Australian brand name distributor in the market," Sampson said. "This gives CHA the ability to respond rapidly to the needs of our resellers because we can make all of our strategic decisions locally without waiting for approval from overseas owners."

Meanwhile, the channel partnership between CHA and Network Associates International (NAI) has also disintegrated, with both parties claiming to have terminated the relationship.

A press release from CHA states it terminated its distribution agreement with NAI due to "a severe lack of local support, intense channel conflict and the favouring of specific distribution partners in the local market."

However, NAI's regional channel manager Nicki Bain disputes this claim, saying that in fact NAI was the one to terminate the agreement because CHA would not pay their bills.

"They had substantial problems committing to pay us," Bain said. "They had issues about how we were supporting them, but we can't give dedicated support if you can't pay your bills. They say we weren't supportive, but some of their staff have phoned us to ask for jobs, so we must be doing something right. It's interesting that they say they terminated the relationship, but I have documentation in the office to prove it was the other way around."

CHA's national marketing manager, James Robbins disputes there were payment issues but told ARN Live Wire there was truth in the claim that NAI wanted to end the relationship.

He said the two companies decided to terminate the agreement at the same time, and the documents "probably crossed paths" in the post.

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