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Lenovo Boosts Latin America Focus in Reorganization

Lenovo Group Ltd., the world’s second-biggest maker of personal computers, will create a new Americas division to sharpen focus on Latin American markets.

Gerry Smith, president of North America operations, will oversee the enlarged division starting April 1, the company said in an internal e-mail to employees yesterday that was confirmed by Lenovo spokesman Jeffrey Shafer. The Beijing-based PC-maker’s Latin America business had been grouped with Asia Pacific under Milko Van Duijl.

The new setup will smooth operations as employees in South America will no longer need to coordinate decisions with Asia-based managers in different times zones. Lenovo has also announced plans for a new computer factory in Brazil and bought a local maker of PCs, smartphones and tablets as economic growth spurs demand.

“Geographic alignment makes management easier and more effective for all of our leaders and for their teams,” Lenovo said in the e-mail. “We are confident that the efficiency benefits of this change will be significant.”

Latin America and Brazil accounted for the majority of a 1.6 percent decline in third-quarter sales at the Asia-Pacific and Latin America business, Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming said on an earnings conference call Jan. 30.

The $147 million acquisition of Digibras, the maker of CCE brand PCs, “will help accelerate our expansion in the country,” Wong said on the call. The purchase, completed last month, doubled Lenovo’s PC market share in Brazil and boosted its sales ranking to third from seventh.

Lenovo in July announced plans to spend $30 million building a computer factory and a distribution center in Itu, in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. The unit will have as many as 700 employees in two years, when it’s expected to reach maximum capacity, Lenovo said at the time.

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