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Skinstad to help reposition Sharp brand

Mark McChlery, Bob Skinstad at the helm.

JOHANNESBURG – Local distributor of Japanese brand Sharp, Seartec is reengineering the Sharp brand and plans to launch new hardware and software products into the domestic and regional markets.

Seartec is 100% owned by diverse investment company Seardel, which is listed on the JSE and whose majority shareholder is JSE-listed Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI).

At a media launch on Friday, Seartec chief marketing officer and former SA rugby player Bob Skinstad said of Sharp, “We have polished a brand with an innovative heritage and history, and we are repositioning it in South Africa.”

Sharp Corporation is a Japanese multinational that designs and manufactures electronic products, including the interactive display screens used in Apple products.

Locally, it is most well known for its calculators, photocopy machines and microwave ovens. With close to 10 000 customers in the country, it holds a 45% share of the calculator market in South Africa and is the largest distribution of Sharp calculators globally.

Seartec has ambitious growth plans for Sharp South Africa, which include expansion in existing sectors, as well as developing a presence in new markets, through product development and acquisition.

Seartec CEO Mark McChlery, previously MD of Itec Innovate, joined the company nine months ago together with Skinstad. Since joining, he has made two acquisitions, including startup ecommerce stationer Office Box and Limtech, specialists in biometric fingerprint recognition and access control solutions.

McChlery said that both companies had products and systems that were complementary to or could be integrated with Seartec’s existing products and services, which include rental finance solutions for its goods.

McChlery told Moneyweb he was most excited about launching Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Generator in South Africa, an air purifier that can greatly reduce harmful airborne viruses and improve allergies, according to Sharp.

He noted that Seartec was investing into a data centre in Cape Town, which would see it offer cloud portal services to small and medium-sized businesses.

McChlery said Seartec was positioned for organic as well as linear growth, through acquisitions, but would first bed down its operations in South Africa before looking for growth opportunities on the rest of the continent.

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