Mercury moves into financing

Lending new meaning to the total solution concept, national reseller The Mercury Group will offer in-house financing to its customers.

The group has established a new business division, Mercury Financial Services, whereby clients will be able to finance company rollouts directly through Mercury.

"As a company, we are now big enough and mature enough to handle offering the service in-house," said MD Derek Merdith. "Early on, all we did was sell computers and outsource the service side. The next stage was to move into servicing, and this is the next step. It signals the maturing of our business."

Merdith likened the company's business model to that of the car industry where clients purchase a vehicle through a dealership. The dealer then organises finance on the purchase and service and repairs are also channelled through to the dealer.

The scheme has already been successfully implemented, with one of Mercury's corporate clients. Mercury organised the products, financing and servicing agreements and the old Toshiba laptops are now being auctioned on the company's Internet site, pcauction.

"At the end of the term, we can buy the product back and push it through our own second-hand channels," Merdith said. "It's about owning the customer through the product life cycle and keeping margins in house rather than pushing them through a third party."

The Mercury Group includes Mercury Information Technology, Mercury services and its retail divisions Laptop Land and pcauction. The new business arm will be known as Mercury Finance.

"It is a much-maligned term, but this allows us to offer our customers a one-stop shop," Merdith said.

"We will focus on financing for small and medium businesses and the corporate market -- we are not dealing with the consumer side, mainly because there are a hell of a lot of different laws with consumer finance which we don't want to get into."

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