German PC maker Vobis revamped, CHS may sell

German PC maker Vobis revamped, CHS may sell

Vobis Microcomputers AG will next week detail a restructuring plan designed to bring the German PC retailer back to profitability, according to a Vobis spokeswoman.

The Vobis restructuring will entail eliminating jobs in the area of administration, developing new concepts for franchising and selling products in super-stores and expanding production, according to Vobis spokeswoman Janet Spacey-Rennings.

"The goal is for Vobis to attain profitability again in retail sales," she said.

The move comes just as Miami-based distributor CHS Electronics expects to receive regulatory approval for its proposed $US320 million purchase of the Vobis retail, assembly and distribution group from German retailer Metro AG.

The acquisition, which includes Vobis' majority holdings in the private label PC maker Maxdata Computer GmbH and distributor Peacock System GmbH, will further broaden the range of products which CHS offers. CHS distributes microcomputers, peripherals and software products to more than 110,000 resellers in 42 countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Both Maxdata and Vobis officials declined to comment on recent reports that CHS plans to resell Vobis after the restructuring is completed, however. CHS officials could not be reached for comment.

The reports emerged after Holger Lampatz, Maxdata's founder and president on CHS's managing board, told a German newspaper last weekend that the company has long-term plans to sell Vobis, although no concrete discussions have taken place.

Although Vobis was number one among German PC makers in 1997 based on the number of units shipped, according to Dataquest, it has struggled amid fierce price competition in the German PC market.

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