Inside Axis Communications' U.S. expansion plan

Fredrik Nilsson discusses the strategy behind the company’s decision to open new offices in designated business areas

SIW: Do you believe that this expansion will help you broaden your partner base and are there any particular regions within which you’re looking to increase your footprint?

Nilsson: We continuously expand our base, both by numbers and also by partners that do greater revenues and become more and more loyal. We are a very long-term focused company, so we focus on long-term partnerships, but the market is always changing and people lose partners. The best way to show them what we can do and how we’re different is to first of all, show that we have their back and will work with them to help them out with a product or project.

SIW: How much was this decision to expand impacted by the rebounding U.S. economy and the increase that is expected in new construction over the next several years?

Nilsson: We’re a public company and we want a pretty consistent growth rate. In our public statement, our CEO said our long-term goal is to have growth of around 30 percent a year. Axis did $720 million (in revenue) last year and close to half of that belongs to North America and, of course, the U.S. is a big share of that. And if you start adding 20 percent to those kinds of numbers it becomes relatively large. Again, we are a long-term based company and in this economy or a bad economy, we want to show our commitment to the market. We think it is rebounding and doing better right now, but even when it wasn’t looking so great a couple of years ago, we continued to expand and hire people. It’s not necessarily a reaction to a short-term opportunity of the construction market rebounding, it is more of a long-term shift of the market over to IP and also a more long-term shift from manpower and guards over to electronic security.