Seanix Technology Thursday said it would fold Cybernetique into its national operations to act as its eastern Canadian manufacturing centre.

Seanix, based in Richmond B.C., bought Cybernetique 18 months ago for an undisclosed sum. Cybernetique began in 1988, specializing in hardware manufacturing for the education market.

Seanix will now employ 300 people in Canada, with market development continuing in B.C. and service outlets in Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver. Cybernetique co-owner and president Real Proulx will become president of the company’s eastern Canadian operations and the subsidiary will be known as CyberSeanix. No layoffs are expected as a result of the move.

Seanix president Paul Girard said the move would increase the combined entity’s buying power and create internal efficiencies as it attempts to grow its market share in a slow economy.

“The more we analyzed it, the more we felt that in eastern Canada we really only needed one manufacturing site,” he said.

Girard said the restructuring makes Seanix Canada’s largest computer manufacturer and the fifth in market share.

In the past 12 months, Seanix has shipped about 140,000 units. Next year, Girard said the company expects that number to increase to 160,000 – 170,000. “That’s around six per cent of the Canadian desktop market.”

IDC Canada recently reported the first-ever year-over-year decline in Canadian PC shipments. In North America, companies like Micron have put their PC business up for sale. However IDC analyst John Stanisic said the market slump won’t necessarily trigger more mergers or buyouts.

“I don’t see the value in someone like a Dell buying a Micron PC business,” he said. “You’re looking at a brand that wasn’t successful or past its prime. Or manufacturing facilities that weren’t good enough the first time around.”

Seanix is already dealing with the PC decline by moving into new segments. Two months ago the company began manufacturing notebooks, and Girard said the firm had plans to launch a thin client PC and more flat-panel monitors.

“I don’t think it’s about the market growing or not growing, it’s about the market segmenting itself,” he said. “In the car business, you once could have any colour as long as it was black. But now there’s different types of vehicles and different classes — sub-compact, mid-size, SUVs or the truck that kind of converts into an SUV. The market’s segmenting, and I think with PCs, that’s essentially that’s what happening right now.”

Stanisic said Seanix was wise to go after the mobile segment, which he predicted would gain share at the expensive of desktops over the next few years.

“For someone like a Seanix to get into that notebook market, I think there’s some opportunities for success there, because it’s been dominated by a few businesses.”

Girard said Seanix would tap into its installed base with the new offerings.

“We think we’ve got a strong market potential in consumer, home office, small and medium-sized business,” he said. “Education is starting to buy more notebooks. We think we can also do a good job in government. Those are our traditional markets, really. We’re selling new products to existing customers.”

The integration of Cybernetique’s systems would take at least 60 days, Girard predicted. The company plans to offer a stock option program to employees allowing them to acquire 10 per cent of all shares owned by the corporation.

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