Dublin-based component distributor Connect Electronics has opened a UK office, undeterred by the economic downturn.
The company, which quadrupled sales to more than $190m last year, is setting up in Harlow as part of a move towards further European expansion. The UK operation has five staff at launch but Connect plans to grow to 20 staff within 18 months.
Harlow is headed by Eugene Mullen, general manager. He was previously UK sales manager at Lattice Semiconductor and, before that, ran an asic design service at distributor Macro, which is now part of Avnet.
“A local office will make it easier to do business,” said Mullen, “and it is easier to recruit people in the UK. We are having horrendous problems recruiting in Ireland at the moment and the UK offers a bigger pool of people to recruit from.”
Mullen says the privately-owned group's sales should grow to $230m in the current financial year ending in October: “We have done the lion's share of that in the first six months. We believe we are the largest independent indigenous component distributor in Europe.”
Connect has three main trading divisions, but electronic component sales to OEMs represent almost all the sales.
The company is currently looking at opportunies arising from excess stock that has built up as the electronics market has hardened.
Mullen said: “We are putting a lot of effort in to excess inventory management (EIM) and, while we can speculate by buying product, we are not in the market to buy product just because it is cheap to fill up the warehouses.
“The biggest challenge we have in expanding the EIM sector is to develop trust with customers so that they will give us exclusive rights to work for them. They don't want to be competing with themselves by trying to sell through multiple outlets.”
Overall, Connect operates across 75 countries with around 8000 suppliers, partners and customers.
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