Eight independent European component distributors with combined sales of €150m have set up Advanced European, a jointly-owned alliance that now claims to be the number nine player on the continent.
The company will take on pan-European distribution and repping deals, and could become the vehicle for a stock market flotation in three to five years.
The founders are the UK's 2001 Electronic Components, Benelux-based Alcom, Switzerland's Computer Controls, Italy's Esco, Spain's Matrix, Microel and Micro Puissance from France and Spezial from Germany.
The partners have offices in 20 European countries. At present they will remain independent and operate using their existing names, with Advanced acting as a management company.
Roy Greer, CEO of the new group and MD of 2001, said: “By bringing together the member companies of Advanced European, we are able to offer suppliers a proven and efficient route to take their key technology products to customers across Europe.”
Discussions to set up the group started 18 months ago. Greer says Advanced is already talking to financial organisations about backing to expand operations.
“We looked at companies that were very similar to 2001 -medium-sized and profitable, with good technology sales,” he said. “We didn't start with a blank bit of paper but by talking to our own suppliers about the best operations in a number of countries.
“Essentially, what we want to do is expand what we do but not at the cost of changing the character of the individual businesses we already have.”
The main region missing from Advanced at this time is Scandinavia, but Greer says discussions with potential partners are underway. The goal is for Advanced to cover the whole of Europe within 12 months.
The head count at Advanced will be kept low. If any new pan-European agreement calls for a single contact and shipping point, this will be handled by one of the member companies.A number of Europe wide agreements are being negotiated.