With one distributor changing hands, another heads into Europe

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Tuesday, March 1, 2005

MELVILLE, N.Y. - Just a day before the Tri-Ed acquisition paperwork was signed (see related story on this page), ADI announced an aggressive international expansion that begins with establishing 25 offices in 12 countries in Europe.

ADI plans to open offices throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the next few years. As a result of corporate restructuring, ADI will take over existing facilities operated by Honeywell, its parent company, and launch new facilities when necessary.

“We’re taking small distributors and integrating the ADI model,” according to Tom Polson, president of ADI. “And expanding with new locations and people.” Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters are in Amsterdam.

ADI, which distributes security and low-voltage products, already operates 105 branches overall in Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States.

The initial focus of the expansion calls for new ADI offices in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic and South Africa.

“We, as market observers, are surprised it took so long,” said Joseph Freeman, principal at J.P Freeman Co., on ADI’s announcement. “Going to Europe is like going to the place that is your natural home.”

The distribution market in the United States has shifted over the years, according to Freeman, with end users taking advantage of more direct methods to secure products, particularly the Internet. This has led to tougher market conditions than in the past.

“Distributors (in Europe) still serve a more traditional function than in the U.S.,” said Freeman. Although individual countries depend more on distributors to receive products, ADI’s resources will have to focus not only on establishing offices but also addressing existing competition, he said.

Polson said some, but not all international ADI offices, will feature sales personnel, warehouses and training facilities for new products and business development.

“It will be a five-year project, at least,” said Polson on the expansion plan. “We want to do it in a measured form so we can provide a truly valued service.”