Aktio poised to strike on H1 tenders

- Thursday, March 3, 2011

Aktio poised to strike on H1 tenders

Latin American IT products distributor Aktio, a unit of Brazilian IT firm Grupo Açao, will bid on a series of Argentine government tenders before public sector activity dries up later this year, Aktio VP Leonardo Gannio told BNamericas.

Argentina's federal government agencies such as the justice ministry and also several provincial governments - namely Córdoba, Santa Fe, Neuquén, Mendoza and San Luis - are calling tenders before October's presidential elections.

"They are looking for complete, end-to-end solutions with hardware and software for their computing centers," he said. "For example, the justice ministry is looking for a solution for records management. In the cases of the provincial governments, they're trying to modernize their computing centers and increase their processing capacity. They're also looking for education solutions and solutions to improve citizen relations."

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Aktio is looking to score wins before the situation on the ground changes.

"The impact will come during the second half, when government business will slow down," Gannio said.

SOUTHERN CONE GOVERNMENT FOCUS

Government purchases will help drive an expected overall 30% sales jump in the Southern Cone this year, according to Gannio. To this end, Aktio will be increasing its government sector personnel by 20%.

Other focus areas include banking and retail sector sales, particularly in Chile and Argentina. Aktio will also continue expansion in other parts of Latin America by opening up direct operations in Peru and Mexico, but Gannio was unable to provide further details.

Aktio saw its Southern Cone sales increase 56% last year, driven by significant advances in Chile and Argentina. Significant wins included participation in Argentine digital inclusion program Conectar Igualdad.

COMPETITION

Latin America's wholesale market saw significant consolidation last year, namely through US IT wholesaler Avnet Technology Solutions' (NYSE: AVT) purchase of Tallard Technologies and Bell Micro.

Gannio said this activity has had two main effects on regional business.

"This inclusion of international players has sapped market flexibility.... Credit policies and cash flow have become more rigid," he said. "Nevertheless, they are international companies, and they represent very significant competition."

The executive was unable to comment on whether Aktio and parent company Grupo Açao have received buyout offers from other wholesalers.

Aktio currently has offices in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and, most recently, in Chile. The company provides solutions from manufacturers such as Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and US software firm Novell.