UPDATE: Ingram Micro replaces CHA at Toshiba

UPDATE: Ingram Micro replaces CHA at Toshiba

Number one notebook vendor, Toshiba has moved quickly to patch the hole left in its channel by last week's tumbling into receivership by former distributor CHA. Today the vendor announced it had appointed Ingram Micro as a national distributor alongside Tech Pacific and Dicker Data.

Toshiba's national sales manager (mobile computing division), Phil Cameron said the appointment of Ingram Micro "made good sense" as the vendor has existing agreements in US and Europe with the global distribution company.

Cameron said there had "been some other calls" from distributors wanting to jump into the fray to replace CHA but in the end the decision was "not that hard to make".

Speaking about the appointment, Ingram Micro managing director, Steve Rust claims the distributor will initially focus on recruiting staff experienced with Toshiba products in order to rapidly grow their market presence.

"We are already conducting a recruitment campaign," Rust said. "We are looking for internal product management and sales staff to ramp up that area of our business as quickly as possible."

Rust confirmed that he had approached Toshiba several months ago with a proposal to ship their range of notebooks. He said that the confirmation had only come through after CHA passed into administration last week.

"I let Toshiba know earlier in the year that I was interested in doing business with them," Rust said.

Although Rust conceded that the new Toshiba product line would represent a significant part of the Ingram Micro product line-up, he was cautious about indicating exactly how large the contract would become.

"We will be selling all the Toshiba products CHA were selling, and we will also continue to work with IBM, HP and Compaq," Rust said. "The notebook market is strongly contested, and we now represent a number of the key vendors."

Cameron expects Ingram Micro to match the undisclosed level of sales that were being generated by CHA (believed to be $3-5 million per month) and is not expecting the loss of noted margin trimmer CHA to affect retail prices.

"With those three strong distributors, market dynamics will ensure that competition will keep prices as low as possible," Cameron said.

Cameron would not comment on the debt levels accrued by CHA prior to the appointment of Ingram Micro, or would he divulge what sort of markets would be attacked by the newly-appointed distributor.

Rust said that while Ingram Micro would offer the Toshiba range to its current reseller channel, he confirmed the new product line would require an increase in resellers partner recruitment.

"We are keen to address resellers that are currently our customers, we are also keen to explore other channels with the Toshiba range," he said.

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