Cellnet is on the hunt for new growth opportunities, saying it has cash in the bank and space to add more business. The bullish outlook comes after recruiting two local senior sales staff including Laser country manager Luke Johnson.
The trans-Tasman Cellnet group posted a net profit of $1 million for the half year to 31 December 2009, in marked contrast to the previous first half year where it reported a net loss of $6.37 million, excluding discontinued operations.
“We had a full year profit forecast and it is a complete turnaround from where we were as a business when we had an IT distribution component. It is a positive change and we’re on track to hit our forecasts for the full year,” says country manager Dave Clark. The distributor sold its local IT business to Datastor last June.
Clark says the business is now looking for acquisition and organic growth opportunities and has cash reserves set aside. He declined to comment on what type of company it might acquire.
“We’re in a good position in terms of our new building where we have capacity to add additional business, whether that is full service distribution or more consumer products. We have got the capacity in our warehouse to increase volumes as well.”
The company recently shifted to new premises on Auckland’s North Shore.
It has recently made two senior appointments to its sales team, with Paul Ranson hired as New Zealand sales manager. Clark says the company hasn’t had a sales manager since it sold the IT distribution business to Datastor.
“While Paul will be primarily looking after the telecommunications division, he will have responsibility for the whole sales team,” says Clark.
Ranson was previously national sales manager for First Mobile and also worked at Vodafone as a business development manager.
In addition, it has hired Luke Johnson as retail national account manager. Johnson is currently Laser Corporation’s country manager and joins Cellnet on June 20.
He will be responsible for national accounts including Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming, JB Hi-Fi and The Warehouse.
Clark says Johnson’s background managing Harvey Norman stores across Australia and New Zealand means he is an ideal candidate.
Johnson says as Cellnet is a distributor of Laser products, he will still be looking after the Laser agency in the new role.
“It may seem like less of a role [than as Laser country manager], but when you are going from a role which is one other team member and myself, there is more chance to look at opportunities down the road. Cellnet is a bigger company and there are different positions available. It is also about working with a good team and I’ve known the Cellnet staff for some time.”
Johnson had been with Laser since February last year. He says the company is in the process of recruiting a replacement country manager.
In total Cellnet will have a staff of 18.
Clark says the new hires are partly in response to increasing demand for its brands such as the iWorld portfolio of iPhone accessories and Energiser Energy to Go rechargeable battery packs.
“These not only lend themselves to the telco space, but also consumer electronics and mass merchants. It is focusing on the strategy where we’re taking Cellnet as a company, which is in that telco and retail space.”