Victoria-based distributor, eXeed, has become the year's first major casualty of industry consolidation. Sources have cited the loss of its HP contract 16 months ago as the catalyst for its demise.
Chartered accountants, GS Andrews and Associates, said the company went into receivership on February 9. Its spokesperson, Angela Kennedy, said a creditors meeting would be held shortly.
eXeed was formed by Michael Bosnar four years ago in conjunction with major shareholders, Frank Colli and Keith Watson. Colli is managing director of HP reseller, Leading Solutions. Watson resigned his directorship of the company prior to joining HP New Zealand in May last year. Former eXeed sales manager, Rick Phelps, said the distributor had been on a downward spiral since losing its HP distribution contract in November 2003.
eXeed had built a business around the partnership and had struggled ever since, he said.
Phelps left in mid-2003 to work as national sales manager for local hardware vendor, Swann Communications.
General manager of Fujitsu A/NZ, Mike Yell, said his company had terminated its relationship with eXeed almost a year ago.
"eXeed was shifting its focus to telecommunications products," he said. "The HP server business was its comfort factor but he [Bosnar] obviously saw more margin or growth in that 3G space. We watched our account for six months and decided it wasn't going anywhere so we pulled out."
Bosnar was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Last year, he told ARN that eXeed would concentrate on high-value technology distribution with a focus on third generation (3G) telephony.
He claimed 40 per cent of company revenues were coming from that area, at the time.
Prior to shifting its focus to Hutchinson 3G products, eXeed had been part of two well publicised but ultimately unsuccessful merger bids with Dicker Data and Digiland.
Acer is one of the distributor's outstanding creditors, according to the PC-maker's national channel sales manager, Greg Mikaelian. Although not prepared to divulge exact amounts owed, he said the debt ran into tens of thousands of dollars. HP is also believed to be on the creditor list.
About 20 staff are believed to work across eXeed's Australian operations.
Despite the closure here, eXeed New Zealand was not expected to be affected, according to its managing director, Andrew Bain.
"There's been no involvement here from eXeed Australia, so there's really no impact at all," Bain claimed. "Michael Bosnar is not a director of eXeed New Zealand."
Bain said the two businesses had taken up different operating models after the loss of the Australian HP contract. The New Zealand agency continues to distribute HP products.