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Tue 11 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Almasa secures HP IPG distribution deal for Iraq

Almasa IT Distribution has signed a printing and imaging distribution deal with HP to build channels-to-market for the vendor’s imaging and printing group (IPG) product lines in Iraq.

Almasa IT Distribution has signed a printing and imaging distribution deal with HP to sell the vendor’s imaging and printing group (IPG) product lines into Iraq. The deal positions Almasa as one of the first authorised HP distributors selected to serve the Iraqi market.

Almasa has strong historical links to the Iraqi market and awareness of the local IT channel structures that exist. Mehdi Amjad, group managing director at Almasa, claims that distribution agreements with two other IT vendors to serve the Iraqi market are also in the pipeline. Almasa’s ability to provide credit to Iraqi resellers and an established logistics infrastructure also helped in securing this deal.

“It is definitely not an easy task to find strong players you feel confident giving credit to and who will be there for the long-term,” said Amjad. “But if you have knowledge of the historically strong players it helps. They may have lost shops and infrastructure but they maintain the financial capability to rebuild. Almasa knows these players from years back.”

“Iraq is a rapidly expanding market for technology products,” added Parvez Ahmed, director of Almasa IT Distribution’s peripherals and supplies division. “We are seeing strong demand for high-end corporate printing requirements as government and ministry departments are established.”

Hazem Bazan, channel account manager at HP IPG, commented: “It is due to Almasa IT Distribution’s historically strong Iraqi reseller relationships and their proven success at in-country channel development that we have awarded one of our first Iraq distribution agreements to them.”

Almasa has identified 15 leading resellers in Iraq selling into the corporate sector as well as a broad base of additional channel partners to sell through. While logistics within Iraq remain a challenge, the reliability of HP product is a major plus point for Almasa.

“HP printers and consumables have one of the lowest fault rates in the industry compared with competitors’ products,” continued Ahmed. “As local service centres have yet to be established in Iraq, the lower the total logistics of a product range, the lower the cost and the happier the end user.”

Building channels in Iraq remains a challenge for vendors and distributors alike. With strong demand for IT products, expect more distribution and resell agreements to be announced in the coming months.

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