Apple IMC Russia, Apple's official representative in the Russian Federation, has completed another stage of business restructuring. The efforts resulted in a separate company iPro being set up to function as a provider of professional solutions.

According to Evgeni Butman, Apple IMC's general director, the initial reorganisation was scheduled for February 2005 when five new departments were created. These were supposed to become separate companies afterwards. In addition to a professional solutions department, these include a retail department, a CIS customer service department, an education projects department (DPI Computers), and a retail chain managing company.

"The company reorganisation aims at extending our business and boosting management efficiency. We have registered impressive growth over recent years and we are determined to grow further", said Butman.

According to Butman, the company's business grew twofold over the financial year 2005 and threefold over 2006. Apple IMC's plans for 2007 include increasing sales figures at least twice.

iPro's growth rates are not as impressive as those of Apple IMC's Retail. The reason being that sales of professional products are directly dependant on the life cycle of computer hardware in client companies. IPro's share of the total sales volumes is declining. Currently it is around 35 per cent, which is a dramatic drop compared with the 80 per cent in 2003 and 2004.

Evgeni Butman says this is a natural occurrence that stems not from a decline in demand for professional hardware, but from the demand's lower growth compared to that for consumer goods. Estimates suggest that iPro's share in Apple's overall revenues will drop even lower in 2007.

"We have made iPro a separate company partly because we do not want our professional solutions business to lag behind our rapidly growing retail," said Butman.

iPro will be run by Elena Sidorova who was previously head of the company's professional solutions department. According to Sidorova, iPro is Russia's only distributor of Apple's professional hardware and software.

Today the company has twelve first-level partners. Among these are four distributors, six VAR-partners and two master-resellers - Mak Center and PowerLine.

iPro describes master-sellers as companies that have big volumes of sales to end clients and provide integrated ready-to-operate solutions for professional markets such as DPP (photograph design, printing and processing) and AV (audio and video). iPro also has about 70 second-level partners, mostly regional dealers whose number have more than doubled over 2006.

IPro's 2006 results include holding over thirty marketing events for customers and dealers in Moscow and the Russian regions. Over the year the company has built a management team and established relationship with four new direct partners. The company's plan for the financial year 2007 is to develop an efficient service network in the regions and increase sales by 55 per cent.

Retail plans

Today Apple IMC has nine stores in Russia with plans to extend the chain to fourteen stores.

The retail division is expected to be spun-off into a separate company soon. The plan is to complete this stage before the end of the year. The new company will specialise in end-user products.

"This department shows the biggest growth rates in the whole of Apple IMC. This is mostly thanks to the popularity of iPods", said Evgeni Butman.

The company also views education as another major segment for its business growth. Today a total of 10,000 Macs have been installed in more than 700 schools in Russia's forty-five regions.