Rapidly expanding components distributor Memec Plc, Memory & Electronic Components, yesterday announced plans to diversify into the data communications equipment distribution market through a new subsidiary, Thame Networks Ltd. The move follows that of Micro Business Systems Plc, which has created MBS Communications Ltd to handle installation, networking and cabling. Thame Networks is a spin-out from subsidiary Thame Systems, Memec’s disk products and power supplies distributor, and its core product will be the Fujitsu modem line, for which it now has the sole UK franchise; it will also offer communications and networking products from Tandata, Micom-Borer, Mountain Computer, Banyan Systems and others, the aim being to supply the largest and smallest users with high-speed modems, and Megastream multiplexing down to local area network equipment and low-speed dial up modems. Thame Networks managing director Malcolm Farrar acknowledges that this represents an attempt by Memec to cushion itself from the current difficulties experienced by straight component distributors, and says that other such moves are on the cards. He is looking for at least UKP1m sales in the first year’s trading, relying initially on existing Network Systems customers such as British Rail, British Aerospace and the Stock Exchange and plans to offer the full service from installation, support and maintenance to training. The last, Farrar believes, will prove particularly cash-generative. The Fujitsu products have been in the US for over a year: they include the 1921L3 9.6Kbps lease-line only modem at the low end that also offers a time-division four-channel multiplexing option, and the 1923L3 14.4Kbps version should reawaken communications managers to the advantages of fast-poll modems, says Farrar. A 19.2Kbps modem is promised.
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