Loss-making Siemens division bets on channel

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Siemens' communications division posted a loss for the quarter ending 31 March but its Australian arm is forging ahead, seeking fresh blood for its reseller channel to boost sales.

Siemens' communications division posted a loss for the quarter ending 31 March but its Australian arm is forging ahead, seeking fresh blood for its reseller channel to boost sales.

David Healy, enterprise business manager at Siemens, said the vendor was aiming to sign a distributor and an unspecified number of new resellers within six months. Siemens sought to add to its 17-strong Australian partner base.

"We are expecting to grow [our business] 40 to 50 percent over the next couple of years," he said.

Healy said all that growth would have to come through its channel. Siemens did not sell direct in Australia.

"We're in negotiations with a distributor [as well]," Healy said.

Healy wouldn't give revenue, turnover or sales figures for Siemens Australia but claimed the business was "going well".

Recent financial results for the company show the group with a net income of 781 million Euros ($1.3 billion) for the three months ending 31 March 2005. Sales for the first six months, ended 31 March 2005, were up two percent overall.

However, Siemens is a large, diverse company with real estate, automation, power generation, medical solutions, automotive, power transmission and transportation divisions as well as communications products.

Its communications division posted a loss -- primarily due to its mobile devices business -- as did its business services section.

While no breakdown supplying Australian figures was made in the statement, Siemens did report "growing demand" for the entire group in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific.

Healy said Siemens' Australian partners included recent signing Telestar, Sitec, Gap Communications and the Australian Communications Consortium. Major partner Commander accounted for about 40 percent of Australian sales.

"We want to expand and get greater coverage," he said. "Across, mainly, the micro[-business] and SMB segment."

Siemens had hired a second channel manager -- former Avaya, AT&T and MCI stalwart Kal Savi -- to look after Commander. The resources of its other channel manager were shared out among the other 16 partners, many of whom were regional and very independent, Healy said.

Further hiring could be expected in coming months as Siemens introduced products for smaller businesses and began to work through its two-tiered channel model, he said.

Customers could look forward to new WLAN and IP telephony offerings, Healy added.

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