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CDW delivers robust 2021 financials

Channel player has shown resilience over the course of what was another challenging year for the IT market

CDW has delivered decent double-digit growth for its latest fiscal year after closing out the last three months of 2021 strongly.

The firm, which acquired Kelway in 2015, operates across the US, Canada and the UK and delivered revenue growth of 12.7% to $20.82bn for the year to the end of December. Operating income improved by 20.3% to $1.4bn.

The business includes the UK in with Canada for the sake of the numbers and, combined, those countries delivered net sales growth 24% higher than in 2020, coming in at $2.587bn.

CDW operates around three main planks: corporate, SME and public sector, and the first couple delivered decent net sales growth year on year, 19.5% and 30.9%, respectively. The public segment was always going to find it difficult to compare against a year like 2020, when governments had to pivot quickly to react to the pandemic. In that area, net sales were up by just 0.6%, compared with a year earlier.

“Our strong fourth-quarter and full-year performance demonstrated the power of our business model, with balance across customer end markets and our product and solutions portfolio, and reinforced the strength of our strategy,” said Christine A Leahy, president and CEO of CDW.

“I am extremely proud of the commitment, agility and resolve of our co-workers, who successfully helped our customers address their mission-critical IT and operational needs across the full IT solutions stack and lifecycle in a supply constrained environment.”

The firm picked up Sirius at the start of December for $2.5bn, and that contributed $197m of net sales from the acquisition, which was spread across corporate, small business and public segments. The deal also added 2,500 employees to the headcount and should be further integrated over the course of this year.

Leahy added: “As our businesses come together in 2022, we expect to continue to outpace US IT market growth by 200 to 300 basis points on a consolidated, constant currency basis. We will continue to execute our strategy, invest in the business and be laser-focused on meeting the needs of our more than 250,000 customers and remaining the partner of choice for more than 1,000 leading and emerging technology brands as the technology market continues to evolve.”

The tone of the comments made around the FY numbers this time, compared with this time last year, was different, with the 2020 numbers having been dominated by the pandemic and concerns around Brexit.

Speaking to analysts, Leahy said that over the past two years, the business has shown its resilience and ability to weather the storms of a global pandemic.

“The past two years also highlighted the power of our business model in our product and solutions performance, with more than 100,000 products and solutions from over 1,000 leading and emerging brands,” she said. “We are well positioned to meet our customers’ needs, whether transactional or highly complex.

“Our ability to help customers address their priorities during two years of unprecedented supply challenge is another example of the power of our business model. We leveraged our competitive advantages, our distribution centres, our extensive logistics capabilities, deep vendor partner relationships and strong balance sheet and liquidity position to navigate the environment.”

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