Clover appoints new head of wireless business

February 11, 2016

The company has hired Bashar Nejdawi as CEO of the Global Wireless business unit.

Bashar Nejdawi

Bashar Nejdawi

Clover Technologies Group, which includes the recently-relaunched Clover Imaging Group, also includes the Global Wireless unit, which focuses on the “rapidly growing global wireless device repair and aftermarket services business”, and which includes Clover Wireless and Valutech. The company stated that Nejdawi is a “wireless industry veteran [who] brings global aftermarket services and remanufacturing expertise”, and is a “leading wireless industry executive”.

Nejdawi has over 30 years of experience in “the global telecommunications and mobility sectors”, and was recently Executive Vice President and President of North America Mobility at Ingram Micro as well as before that holding “several senior level leadership positions” at both Bright Point and Motorola.

Jim Cerkleski, CEO of Clover, commented: “With a career spanning more than 30 years, Bashar has a proven track record of leading wireless companies and managing complex global operations, and we are pleased to welcome him to our team. Bashar brings the perfect combination of leadership capabilities and industry experience to help us excel in the rapidly evolving wireless industry.

“We look forward to leveraging his deep skill set and keen focus on customers’ needs to drive our continued development and delivery of quality products and services to our enterprise customers and end users.”

Nejdawi added: “I am thrilled to be joining Clover, the global leader in the repair and aftermarket services for mobile phones and devices and one of the fastest-growing vendors in the mobility industry. Clover’s commitment to innovation, its strong management team and culture, and its industry-leading position made this a very attractive move for me, and I am eager to bring my experience to Clover and help the Company meet its growth objectives.”

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Sharp in acquisition talks with Foxconn

February 10, 2016

The OEM hosted Foxconn’s chairman for talks, though conflicting reports suggest confusion about the potential acquisition.

Kozo Takahashi, CEO and Chairman of Sharp

Kozo Takahashi, CEO and Chairman of Sharp

In January, Sharp denied rumours that it would be selling its copier business, whilst in November 2013 the OEM was rumoured to possibly be entering into an OEM deal with HP to make copiers, while further reporting established that both companies would collaborate on “toner and other supplies”. Also, in August 2013, Sharp called off talks with Samsung over potentially setting up a joint copier sales company following opposition from other Japanese OEMs.

Restructuring and a bailout worth billions of dollars were announced in January as well, costing around $3 billion (€2.7 billion), and the OEM also indicated that it was “in talks with various companies about [its] LCD business but no decisions have been reached”, with Taiwanese company Foxconn also offering investment in December, as well as private equity companies.

Now, Forbes writer Stephen Harner has reported that Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou “spent over eight hours in meetings” with Sharp’s President Kozo Takahashi on 5 February, where Gou “pitched his ¥700 billion ($5.8 billion/€5.1 billion) rescue-acquisition and restructuring plan” for the OEM. Gou told the press that the two companies had “signed an agreement” for Foxconn to have a “favoured” position “in negotiating a final acquisition agreement”, which would only be available until 29 February.

This was said by Gou to have been agreed with Sharp, and he added that “agreement had already been reached on 90 percent of matters”, after Takahashi had previously indicated that Sharp’s board of directors “had decided to pursue negotiations” with Foxconn on a “favoured” basis. However, this was all contradicted by Sharp telling the media that it had only signed “a memorandum of understanding” with Gou, and a “time frame for further negotiations”

In turn, the OEM said it had “not conferred a ‘favoured’ position” on Foxconn, and Harner added that Sharp “is free to continue to pursue options with other potential partners […] and has every intention to do so”. The writer asked “what is actually happening here”, adding that “what is undeniable is that Sharp remains in deep financial crisis”, with its third quarter results showing earnings, profits and negative income all hundreds of millions of dollars in the negative.

Harner speculates that as Sharp “desperately needs cash”, Foxconn’s offer is “clearly more appealing” than others, and has “sweetened” its offer with offers to invest in the LCD business, as well as an indication that “no wholesale executive shake-up would follow” a deal. Any deal with Foxconn would be a “stunning and humiliating loss of face” for Japanese government officials, who were keen to see the OEM take financial help from the nation’s banks.

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Clover Imaging Group launches new website

February 9, 2016

CIG logosThe company’s new site “provides advanced functionality” alongside access to over 15,000 products.

The new site – www.cloverimaging.com – is said by Clover to provide users with “cutting-edge functionality and extensive product information” for all products that are part of the Clover Imaging Group, such as MSE-brand toner, postage supplies, house-brand inkjet and toner, printer parts and computer and server parts. The company added that the site was developed with “an intuitive, responsive website design” that allows customers to “easily use it from any device”.

In turn, the new site includes a “multitude” of new features that are said to “simplify and streamline the purchasing process”, such as: “full” shopping cart functionality, a “robust and intelligent” search function including images, product information, printer compatibility and support videos; account management tools including order history, tracking and user management; and the ability to “manage favourite products and compare products”.

Mike Posch, Senior Vice President of eCommerce, Product Management and Merchandising at Clover Imaging Group, commented: “Over the last 18 months, we have spent countless hours getting feedback from our customers and researching best-in-class practices to develop a platform for customers to manage their entire imaging supplies business in the most efficient way possible. We are excited to see these efforts come to fruition with the launch of cloverimaging.com.

“With a personalised dashboard, a host of user and account management features, intelligent search functionality, contract pricing and full shopping cart functionality, Cloverimaging.com truly provides the most advanced website experience in the industry.”

Luke Goldberg, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Clover Imaging Group, added: “Last year, we made a commitment to our customers that the new CIG would revolutionize the way they go to market. With the roll out of Marketing Platform 2.0, and now the launch of cloverimaging.com, we are making good on that promise by providing our dealers with the industry’s best marketing and sales tools to strengthen and support our mutual success.

“And, we have just begun! We are continuing to drive hard and seek out new and innovative opportunities to bring to our valued partners.”

Clover Imaging Group was recently relaunched after first being introduced last March, and is now a “sales and marketing engine designed to offer the market’s most robust family of products, services and solutions”, this time from “one singular entity which creates an industry category of one”.

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Lexmark launches new partner programme

February 9, 2016

The Connect Partner Programme aims to “support the current and future needs of the partner community and its customers”.LexmarkLogo_RGB_300

The new programme has been launched by Lexmark in Europe to “meet the changing needs of its channel partners and address the shifting dynamics of the market”, with the OEM noting that it has been designed to “support partners selling to customers who are increasingly looking to adopt a holistic, end-to-end approach to their data and document management”, including beyond printing. Enrollment is already available for those partners qualifying, Lexmark added.

Lexmark also said that the programme features a “unified programme framework” that connects partners to its “expertise” in hardware, supplies, service, MPS and software, and is designed to “enrich partner offerings” in this regard. Channel partners joining can “access in-depth knowledge of the market and technology leadership”, which will allow them to provide customers with “informed recommendations” and “differentiate themselves and capitalise on the opportunities” in the market.

With features including “enhanced training and marketing support”, the programme is a consolidation of the OEM’s current channel programmes, and it notes that partners “will get access to a wide range of benefits” as well as drive “profitability for their business”. Access will also be available to an online resource called PartnerNet, alongside a “partner-specific training portal” and “completely revised set of sales and marketing tools”.

Danny Molhoek, General Manager for North West Europe at Lexmark, commented: “By offering our channel partners a specifically tailored combination of technology knowledge, industry expertise and customer engagement tools, the new Lexmark Connect Partner Programme is truly ‘opening up the possibilities’ by empowering our partners to transform their businesses.

“We have designed this new programme from the ground up to provide a framework that supports our partners as they adapt to a fast-evolving market. Joining the programme will also allow our partners to better connect with the current and future document output and management needs of businesses in an era of digital transformation.”

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HP Enterprise faces PR criticism

February 9, 2016

Lucy Kellaway

Lucy Kellaway

The company’s Head of Marketing and Communications has been criticised for an implied “threat” to a journalist over advertising.

The Drum reported on the message from Henry Gomez to Financial Times journalist Lucy Kellaway, who “publically denounced” Gomez over a reference to the newspaper’s “relationships with advertisers”. Kellaway received the email from Gomez “objecting to an article” she had written about Meg Whitman, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s CEO after the split, which also created HP Inc..

Whitman had spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and gave advice stating that “you can always go faster than you think you can”, and in her article reporting on the talk, Kellaway mocked this, saying that “sometimes, when you go faster you fall flat on your face”. Gomez’ response email mentioned that he was “disappointed” in what Kellaway had written, telling her she had “mischaracterised” Whitman’s comments.

He added that Whitman is “leader of one of the world’s largest IT companies”, and warned Kellaway that the “FT management should consider the impact of unacceptable biases on its relationships with advertisers”. Kellaway responded in a column, entitled An old-school reply to an advertiser’s retro threat, stating her “dismay” with the “outlawing of overt conflict at work and the replacing of it with silence and passive aggression”.

She added that “you say the FT management should think about ‘unacceptable biases’ and its relationship with its advertisers. My piece was not biased, and I fear you misunderstand our business model. It is my editors’ steadfast refusal to consider the impact of stories on advertisers that makes us the decent newspaper we are. It is why I want to go on working here. It is why the FT goes on paying me”.

She also questioned his role as Head of Marketing and Communications, pointing out that the role “means you have to help your company look good in the eyes of the media and the world […] your email fails to do that. As head of marketing, you are likely to have an interest in ensuring that the company’s advertising message reaches the right audience. Assuming the decision to advertise in the FT was right in the first place, it would seem crazy — and not in shareholders’ best interests — to change course based on pique”.

Kellaway concludes that Gomez “may not be to blame for the threats”, asking him to clarify if they came from Whitman, but Hewlett Packard Enterprise “strongly disputed” her claims, stating that “no reporter or news media outlet should be above hearing honest feedback from readers or advertisers”. It also shared the full email with other news sources.

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UK company ownership laws change

February 8, 2016

Companies HouseFrom 6 April, UK companies need to file details of “ultimate beneficial owners and controllers”.

Law firm Penningtons Manches discussed the law change, which will require UK companies and LLPs (limited liability partnerships) to “record details of their ultimate beneficial owners and controllers”, with this information also needing to be filed on the public register at Companies House, the UK company database, by 30 June.

Companies exempt include “those that are listed or quoted on the main market” of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange (ISDX), the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a “regulated market in another EEA state or on certain markets in the USA, Switzerland, Israel of Japan”. The law firm points out that there is “not much time left” for businesses to “ensure that they are ready to comply”, with non-compliance a criminal offence.

If a person with significant control (PSC) or company owner “fails to provide the required information”, their interest in the company “may be frozen” and they will be found to have committed a crime, and many companies are “likely to require professional advice to be sure they are compliant”, particularly those “with more complex ownership structures”, such as companies with “trusts or partnerships or overseas companies” involved.

To be a PSC, you must own or have “the right to exercise” over 25 percent of shares or voting rights in the company, the right to “appoint or remove a majority” of the board of directors, or the right to exert “significant influence or control over the company”. Companies need to now review their members to see if any are a PSC, check shareholder agreements to discover this alongside other legal agreements, and then – if a PSC is identified” – add them to the register.

The new register, called the ‘PSC register’, will include the relevant information for PSCs, and will record details of the PSCs, while all of the above can also refer to a company, which would be known as a relevant legal entity (RLE), and which can also be entered in the register instead of a PSC. “All UK companies” would fall into the category of an RLE, but “most foreign companies” will not, especially those privately-owned.

Over 30 “specific forms of statement” might need to be entered into the register “depending on the circumstances”, and companies need to keep it updated, make it accessible to members of the public, and also file the information at Companies House from 30 June onwards.

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Hubei Dinglong acquires three Chinese companies

February 5, 2016

The toner manufacturer has acquired three domestic companies.

Hubei Dinglong's headquarters

Hubei Dinglong’s headquarters

The company stated that it has “unveiled the three domestic companies for acquisition”, which include Hangzhou Qijie Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Chaojun Technology Co., Ltd., and Ningbo Flexitone New Material Co., Ltd., the latter a toner manufacturer. It added that last November it released a “suspension notice on important issues and […] on major asset restructuring”, which meant it “would purchase assets and raise supporting funds”.

Then in December, it released “several progress notices on major asset restructuring”, and announced a “delay of trading resumption”, adding that “upon accomplishment of the acquisition, Dinglong will hold, either directly or indirectly, a 100-percent stake in the three aforesaid companies respectively”. Last July, it also reported a rise in profits, and expected profits to grow by 20 percent increase in the first half of the year, and earlier that year launched a new subsidiary “engaged in internet technology development and consulting”.

At the time, it was said that increased sales of colour polymerisation toner, alongside increased profit from their Wuhan-based subsidiary, were among the main reasons for the increased profit forecast. The company expected to see net profits rise from 15 percent to 35 percent, or from CN¥71.9 million ($11.5 million/€10.5 million) to CN¥84.4 million ($13.5 million/€12.3 million). Net profits in the same period last year were CN¥62.5 million ($10 million/€9.1 million).

A new report from Reuters noted that Hubei Dinglong also expects to see net profit for 2015 increase by 15 percent to 30 percent, or from CN¥154.5 million ($23.5 million/€21 million) to CN¥174.7 million ($26.5 million/€23.7 million), compared to net profit in 2014 of CN¥134.3 million ($20.4 million/€18.2 million). The company added that “increased sales of main business is the main reason for the forecast”, with net income in 2015 said to be CN¥187.6 million ($28.5 million/€25.5 million).

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Brother reports negative results

February 5, 2016

brother-logoThe only positive for the OEM was an increase in net sales, while income and profits fell.

The results saw Brother report net sales for the quarter of ¥569.6 billion ($4.8 billion/€4.3 billion), an increase of 9.3 percent year-over-year, though operating income fell 13.7 percent to ¥39.5 billion ($338.1 million/€302.2 million), and profits fell 2.6 percent to ¥41.3 billion ($353.5 million/€316 million) from last year. Additionally, comprehensive income plummeted by 88.9 percent to ¥8.8 billion ($75.3 million/€67.3 million) from last year’s high of ¥79.9 billion ($684 million/€611 million).

The OEM’s printing and solutions unit saw net sales increase however, to ¥363.2 billion ($3 billion/€2.7 billion), up from ¥350.4 billion ($3 billion/€2.6 billion) last year. In further detail, the printing side of the unit saw sales of ¥311.8 billion ($2.6 billion/€2.3 billion), a growth of 3.2 percent on the last year, while for the quarter itself, printer sales were ¥113 billion ($967.6 million/€864.5 million) of the unit’s total sales of ¥127.2 billion ($1 billion/€972.69 million).

Brother forecasts that for the whole year, the printing and solutions unit will see a 1.6 percent increase in sales over the year before to ¥481.7 billion ($4.1 billion/€3.6 billion), with printers contributing ¥426.1 billion ($3.6 billion/€3.2 billion) of this. Finally, the OEM predicts net sales for the full year of ¥755 billion ($6.4 billion/€5.7 billion), operating income of ¥43 billion ($368 million/€328 million) and profits of ¥45 billion ($385 million/€346 million).

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Xerox channel president discusses split

February 5, 2016

John Corley, Xerox’ President of Channel Partner Operations, said that the split “will drive channel growth and software opportunities”.

John Corley, Xerox’ President of Channel Partner Operations

John Corley, Xerox’ President of Channel Partner Operations

In an interview with CRN, Corley stated that the split, revealed late last month, will “allow it to pursue growth opportunities through the channel and become more nimble to respond to the faster pace of business”. The OEM intends to split into two separate businesses, one focused on services and the other on hardware, in a strategy similar to the recent split of HP into Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc.

The so-called Document Technology company would be worth $11 billion (€10.1 billion), while the business process outsourcing company would be worth $7 billion (€6.4 billion). Xerox expects the separation to “be complete by the end of 2016”, and for it to “maximise return to shareholders and align with current market dynamics”. A “strategic transformation programme” will also take place for three years in both companies.

Corley stated that the split will allow the Document Technology side to “better adapt to rapidly-evolving markets”, with this element of the business including channel partner operations. He added that it will also drive “innovation and technology to create better solutions for our clients and our partners”, allowing it in turn to “pursue additional growth opportunities within the channel”, and “ensure that our clients are consistently offered the most innovative services and technologies to improve the operational efficiencies of their businesses”.

He also believes that the separate company “will maintain its global leadership position around document management and document outsourcing services”, noting that “we are going to continue to lead with the superior technology solutions and innovation that optimise document management in an increasingly interconnected world”. The pace of business “is a lot faster than what it has been in past years”, he stated, and said that the split will “enable us to be more agile and more flexible”.

In terms of products, Corley comments that Xerox is “going to continue with our investment in technology”, and “become much more focused in some of the growth markets that are happening, like MPS”. Reflecting next on research and development, he says that Xerox will “continue to make the right investments”, and will “continue to make investments in our technology […] because we recognise [that] to stay as a market leader, we have to continue to make those types of investments”.

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WTO concludes tariff deal

February 5, 2016

wto1-color_lThe World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed the deal in December to eliminate tariffs, including on printer cartridges.

The WTO confirmed that members agreed on 16 December to “eliminate tariffs on 201 IT products” worth around $1.3 trillion (€1.1 trillion) a year. The “landmark deal” was agreed at the Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, with negotiations taking place between 53 WTO members from “developed and developing” economies, accounting for around 90 percent of world trade “in these products”.

The organisation added in turn that “all 162 WTO members will benefit from the agreement”, as they will “all enjoy duty-free market access to the markets of the members eliminating tariffs on these products”. The Information Technology Agreement agreed to eliminate tariffs on an array of technology products, with the products concerned including semiconductors, MRI machines, GPS devices, printer cartridges and video game consoles.

The tariffs were cut last July, with over 200 products seeing tariffs cut to “zero”. The Recycler also reported earlier that month that a “breakthrough” had been made in talks at the European Union Embassy in Geneva between WTO ambassadors, and the deal updates the 18-year-old IT agreement made by 82 members, with a recognition in 2012 that “technological innovation had advanced to such an extent that new categories […] were not covered”.

For “every product on the list”, the WTO’s ITA members have “negotiated the level of reductions and over how many years it will fully eliminate the tariffs”, with the result that around 65 percent of products “will be fully eliminated” by 1 July this year. In turn, “most of the remaining tariff lines will be completely phased out in four stages” over the next three years, which should mean that by 2019 “almost all imports of the relevant products will be duty free”.

Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the WTO, stated at the time: “I am delighted to mark this breakthrough here today at the Ministerial Conference. This is a very significant achievement. Annual trade in these 201 products is valued at $1.3 trillion per year, and accounts for approximately 10 percent of total global trade. Eliminating tariffs on trade of this magnitude will have a huge impact. It will support lower prices — including in many other sectors that use IT products as inputs — it will create jobs and it will help to boost GDP growth around the world.

“This agreement is the first major tariff-cutting deal at the WTO since 1996 — and it comes fast on the heels of the historic Bali Package. We now have two deals in two years which deliver real, economically significant results. I hope that this success will serve to inspire progress elsewhere in our work.”

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