Computacenter books solid UK growth in 2013

Resale and services giant Computacenter reveals preliminary numbers for its fiscal 2013, powered by a solid performance in its home market

IT infrastructure solutions and services giant Computacenter has revealed preliminary details of its financial performance in 2013, showing growth across the board thanks to a strong performance in the UK.

Group revenue for the year increased by 6% as reported and 3% on a constant currency basis, with Services sales up 6%, 4% in constant currency and Supply Chain up 5%, 2% in constant currency.

In the final quarter of the year, Services grew 4%, 1 % in constant currency and Supply Chain 11%, 8% in constant currency.

The firm ended the year with net cash – minus customer-specific financing – of £89m, up over £15m from last year partly thanks to an extended credit facility, and said this demonstrated “once again” its ability to turn operating profit into free cash, “despite being impacted by second half challenges in France”.

It was the French operation that held things back last year, with full-year sales down 2%, 7% in constant currency, compared to growth of 8% and 7%, 2% constant, in the UK and Germany respectively.

Although Computacenter France saw its fortunes improve considerably in the final quarter of the year after putting the majority of issues relating to an ERP systems deployment behind it and the extension of the Group Operating Model into the market, Computacenter said there was much work to be done in 2014 and beyond, particularly when it came to shoring up the Services business.

With Germany up 2% and Services sales flat following earlier problems in that market, it was the UK that carried the torch for Computacenter in 2013 as sales on the Supply Chain and Services sides both headed in the right direction, up 9% and 6%.

“We are pleased with the growth in our Services business in 2013 and we have secured some contracts in the fourth quarter that will aid our growth from the second half of 2014 onwards,” said Computacenter in its statement.

“As previously indicated, the particularly strong contribution from successful business take-ons in 2012 has made contribution growth more challenging than revenue growth, but this is now behind us. We have been particularly pleased with the growth in Supply Chain revenue in the fourth quarter [up 18%] which is a strong testament to the strength of our customer relationships and positive market conditions.”

Looking into 2014, Computacenter said it expected to make further progress as the momentum it has picked up in the UK gathers pace, and margin improvements in Germany Services continues to turn around. It is hoping for improvements in France, but said it would “resist the temptation of improving the short-term and not fixing it fundamentally to improve the long-term”.

Full-year results will be released in March.

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