Distributors Look Past The Pond

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Specialty distributors are showing a renewed interest in Europe.

ScanSource has opened a European division, while Westcon Group has agreed to purchase TLK, a Swiss networking distributor.

ScanSource, a Greenville, S.C.-based distributor of automatic data-capture and point-of-sale products, will operate as ScanSource Europe from headquarters in Liege, Belgium, the company said.

Sales offices will be located in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany, and other sales offices will be added throughout the year, said Mike Baur, president and CEO of ScanSource.

Stephanie Greasley has been named managing director of European operations, Baur said.

"We intend after our initial ramp-up stage to provide world-class sales and technical support at an in-country local level, backed up by a full range of support services, in local language," Greasley said.

ScanSource Europe will offer same-day shipping, custom system integration and free technical support, with plans to add online configuration tools, Web storefronts, marketing services and educational opportunities, the company said.

"We don't have any international customers right now, but it's nice to have those resources available to us," said Stephen Wright, president of The Wright Computer Co., a solution provider in Houston. "It gives us a leg up as we look for new accounts."

Meanwhile, Westcon agreed to buy TLK for an undisclosed amount to obtain its technical support skills, said Westcon CEO Alan Marc Smith. The Tarrytown, N.Y.-based distributor plans to leverage TLK's staff to create a 24-hour support line, an upgrade from its off-hours call-back service now, Smith said.

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