Top Vars 100 - 56

Top VARs is a report into the fortunes of the 100 biggest UK resellers and the priorities of CIOs across a variety of vertical markets. The research reveals that there are plenty of resellers on the list that continue to grow sales, but it also shows how much margins are coming under pressure.

100 - 92  |  91 - 83  |  82 - 74  |  73 - 65  |  64 - 56  |   55 - 47  |  46 - 38  |  37 - 29  |  28 - 20  |  19 - 11  |  10 - 8  |  7 - 5  |  4 - 2  |  1


Albion Computers
The Apple Premium Reseller returns to this list after growing sales 12.5 per cent year-on-year in 2012, although operating profit declined 44 per cent to £141,283. The company operates nine iStores across the UK, including its flagship location on The Strand, which it claims is the largest independent Apple retailer in London.
This online reseller of cheap laptops saw turnover decline by 18.2 per cent in FY12, but the directors’ report for the year saluted the firm’s achievement in growing profits in a tough environment. Operating income rose 28.7 per cent to £361,491. The company is hoping Windows 8 sales will give its business a boost in the months ahead.
Blue Chip
Based in Poole, the smaller of the two firms on this list bearing the Blue Chip name counts Cisco, Citrix, EMC, Microsoft and VMware as its strategic vendor partners. Sales for FY12 grew 13.4 per cent annually, while operating profit nudged up four per cent to just under £1.4m.
Freedom Communications
The Watford-based comms VAR saw turnover decrease 7.1 per cent in FY13, which it chalked up to the conclusion of some big government deals. But the last quarter of the year brought in sales via the GPS Public Services Network framework, on which Freedom secured a place on eight lots.
OISG Group
Formerly known as Orange Information Systems, this London VAR has grown swiftly from its inception less than 10 years ago. An extra £1.2m was added to the top line in FY13. The firm runs offices in London and Birmingham, and also has six technical resource centres across the UK: two in London; and one each in Birmingham, Walsall, Crewe and Newcastle.
Total Computer Networks
2012 was another year of strong top-line growth for this VAR, with sales up 22.2 per cent. Operating profit for the year came in £200,000 lower than the prior year at £528,041, with investments made in headcount, as staff numbers rose from 27 to 34 and a new office was opened in Manchester.
PCS Business Systems
The Kettering reseller enjoyed a solid 2012 fiscal year, with sales growing 10.6 per cent and pre-tax profit increasing more than 80 per cent to £919,644. The 18-year-old company’s vendor partners include HP, Microsoft, Lenovo, VMware and Veeam.
Capital Document Solutions
The Scottish print and copy specialist grew reported turnover 14 per cent to £16.9m in 2012, while pre-tax profit leapt 22.1 per cent to £1.45m. The acquisition of £3.8m outfit Highland Office Equipment should take turnover past the £20m mark, and the goal is to take revenue to £30m in the next two years. But the firm has no plans to venture south of the border.
TET Limited
The Clerkenwell-based VAR grew its top line by about a quarter in 2012. Operating profit levels of £155,503 represented a 145.5 per cent increase on the prior year. Cisco, HP, Microsoft, NetApp and VMware are the firm’s key partners.
100 - 92  |  91 - 83  |  82 - 74  |  73 - 65  |  64 - 56  |   55 - 47  |  46 - 38  |  37 - 29  |  28 - 20  |  19 - 11  |  10 - 8  |  7 - 5  |  4 - 2  |  1


Zensar Technologies
The UK arm of the India-headquartered global software and services heavyweight increased profitability despite a sales decline in FY13. Operating profit increased 18.8 per cent year-on-year to £1.6m, despite the top line shrinking by 5.5 per cent.
The Cheshire-based print specialist grew turnover by 28.4 per cent in its 2013 fiscal year while operating profit boomed more than 50 per cent to £1.6m. One of the year’s success stories was the growth of its e-commerce operations.
ACS Group
The IT, cloud and office products firm added £2m to its top line in FY13. The growth was fuelled by its burgeoning managed services unit, and some large deals going live in the new year are predicted to boost profitability.
Millgate Computer Systems
FY12 was another year of bumper growth for the Sheffield VAR, with sales expanding 23.8 per cent, following on from growth of 32.7 and 17.6 per cent in the two preceding years. Operating profit at the Microsoft, Cisco, HP and Novell partner was much flatter, rising 2.1 per cent to £806,021.
Block Solutions
The Hackney-headquartered Cisco Gold partner appears in this list for the first time after growing sales 51 per cent in FY13. Gross margins for the year were steady at 26.5 per cent, although the healthcare specialist’s pre-tax profit declined just over a fifth to £330,932
The Maidstone-based VAR closed its first acquisition in the shape of application delivery and security specialist Quadrant Networks a year ago. The enlarged company took sales comfortably past the £20m mark in FY13, and is gunning for £26m in FY14. It has spoken of its desire to make more acquisitions to help drive turnover to £50m.
Excell Group
The Avaya, Cisco, Mitel and O2 partner saw operating profit in FY12 fall back from £1.7m to £1m, despite a two per cent sales bump. The margin crunch was chalked up to “changes in supplier arrangements, particularly [for] mobile solutions and call charges”, as well as an increase in headcount. Barclays helped fund an £850,000 investment in core network infrastructure.
CSI Group
This IBM, SAP and Microsoft partner grew its pre-tax bottom line more than threefold to £1.1m in 2012, despite turnover declining slightly. Its top line will surely be boosted somewhat by its acquisition in May this year of the SAP Business Objects division of K3.
Square Group
Turnover was down 14.9 per cent for the Apple reseller in FY12, which its annual report chalks up to the firm “choosing not to continue with one particular high volume, low margin client”. Operating profit shrank by almost two thirds to £190,264, but the company claims it made investments in services which will allow it to increase income without needing to add any more headcount.
100 - 92  |  91 - 83  |  82 - 74  |  73 - 65  |  64 - 56  |   55 - 47  |  46 - 38  |  37 - 29  |  28 - 20  |  19 - 11  |  10 - 8  |  7 - 5  |  4 - 2  |  1


The UK arm of the German channel powerhouse enjoyed a stellar 2012 calendar year, with sales growing by almost a quarter and operating profit spiking 31.6 per cent to more than £1.1m. The group’s turnover grew five per cent to €2.1bn last year.
The Avaya-focused contact centre specialist grew sales 13 per cent in its 2012 fiscal year, but an unsuccessful foray into the DACH region put a dent in profitability. Operating profit for the year fell from more than £1m to £189,000. Its Germany-based operation was halted a year ago after just a matter of months in business.
This IBM partner banked more than £1m operating profit in its first full set of numbers, having been formed from the merger of services outfit AssurIT and hardware VAR Apex Computers in 2011. Based in Cirencester, other manufacturer partners include HP, Cisco, Microsoft, VMware and Symantec.
This time next year we should be able to provide a precise figure for the newly created services player, which was spun out of Redstone as a separate AIM-listed company in April. Our run-rate revenue estimate is extrapolated from previous results and Redstone’s first post-demerger numbers.
The UK subsidiary of the pan-European licensing titan posted fairly steady numbers in FY13, with turnover increasing by a little more than £500,000 and operating profit down 5.9 per cent to £384,925. The Comparex Group posted sales of almost €1.2bn in FY13. Formerly PC-Ware, its UK operation was rebranded two years ago.
The Cisco Gold partner grew revenue by 10 per cent in FY12, while pre-tax profit spiked more than 40 per cent to £826,216. Investments made during the year included a new innovation centre at its City digs in Bishopsgate, and a rise in headcount from 51 to 60.
MTI Technology
The Surrey-based networking, virtualisation and storage VAR started to enjoy the revenue benefit of its 2011 acquisition of security firm GSS in its 2012 fiscal year, with turnover growing 29.2 per cent annually. Operating profit was down almost a third to £626,106. Recent investments made by the company include a new office in Manchester.
With sales rising slightly year-on-year, the Surbiton VAR claimed that FY13 was a year of consolidation following hefty growth in the two preceding years. The server, storage, networking and virtualisation specialist invested in its managed services and cloud credentials during the year, which contributed to EBIT falling slightly to £576,588.
Grey Matter
The Devon-based licensing specialist increased its top line by more than a fifth in FY12, with operating profit growing 15.4 per cent to £772,006. The company, whose partners include Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec, also celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.
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This IBM and Microsoft partner, which reaches its 25th birthday next year, grew its top line by more than a quarter in FY13, while operating profit was up 12.5 per cent to more than £3m. The annual report saluted the contribution of the firm’s Enterprise Solutions team, which reportedly sealed several meaty projects.
Last year was a successful one for the south London telecoms player, with sales growing nine per cent and adjusted pre-tax profit rising more than a quarter to almost £5m. Recurring revenue contributed 77 per cent of the total in the first year that its mobile division made a 12-month contribution to the balance sheet.
Tectrade Computers
FY13 was a testing year for the Surrey VAR, with sales falling 3.3 per cent and operating profit down by a third to £659,137. The annual accounts lament the fact that “the anticipated improvement in business confidence did not materialise in 2012... UK public sector spending remained subdued and very competitive”. Services were a bright spot for the IBM partner, rising from 20 to 29 per cent of revenue.
Calyx Managed Services
We have previously overlooked Calyx for this list, as the former buy-and-build player has long sought to quite firmly distance itself from its reseller roots as it tried to drive almost all of its revenue towards services. But late last year, recently appointed CEO Steve Clark revealed that the firm was reigniting its hardware business, but only as a beachhead from which to boost managed services sales.
Blue Chip
The Bedford-based IBM specialist remains comfortably the larger of the two companies on this list with the same name, after growing revenue about 5.6 per cent last year. Pre-tax profit expanded almost threefold to £2.9m. The company also opened its second datacentre during the year, but divested its Swedish operation.
Q Associates
The Newbury VAR saw turnover decrease seven per cent in FY12, which the directors’ report for the year attributes to “a flat economy and the continuing effect of problems with a main supplier to the business”. Cost-reduction measures were put in place in the second half of the year, and operating losses narrowed by more than £800,000 to £1.7m. Further improvements were expected for FY13.
Figures for 2012 give us a clearer picture of the size of the B2B Apple specialist following its acquisition of German rival Cancom. The new addition was on the books for the majority of the year, adding almost £9m to an existing turnover that remained flat. Integration charges and other costs will have contributed to a pre-tax loss in excess of £500,000.
Sales were more or less flat in FY13 for the integrator, but operating profit before exceptional items and depreciation grew almost fivefold to more than £1.5m. The firm has made a number of recent investments, including opening a Client Innovation Centre onsite at its Horsham HQ, as well as a London office in Hammersmith.
The managed print outfit increased its top line by about eight per cent in FY12, although operating profit fell almost five per cent to around £1.75m. But the company claimed it was another year of progress, singling out a 16 per cent rise in recurring revenues as a key achievement.
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The company bearing this familiar channel name is a vastly different beast these days from the bloated £200m buy-and-build juggernaut of just a few years ago. The company’s reinvention was complete when it recently spun off its services business. Annual results shortly afterwards showed a healthy increase in profitability.
Selection Services
The Bromley hosting and managed cloud provider grew turnover organically by 17 per cent to £27.6m, with turnover set to be given a further shot in the arm by its acquisition of 8el in January. The VAR works with vendors including HP, Microsoft, Veeam and VMware.
Esteem Systems
The West Yorkshire-based reseller and MSP saw group sales remain nigh-on flat in its 2012 fiscal year, but boosted adjusted EBITDA by 11.2 per cent to almost £4m. Esteem Systems Limited turned over more than £25m during the year, while a brace of 2010 acquisitons – Midas IT and SiRViS IT – have also fuelled growth in recent years.
Five years on from its UK launch, the Swiss-based VAR has grown into a sizeable presence in the licensing channel, and in 2012 it increased turnover by 68.5 per cent. Operating profit slipped back about three per cent to £371,660, but the annual report chalked this up to investments made in the name of continuing growth in future years.
Intrinsic Technology
The Merseyside VAR grew turnover 16.9 per cent last year as it continued on its quest to become a £100m company. Operating profit before exceptional items was up 31.6 per cent to £3.4m. Former Vistorm and Appsense exec Darron Antill recently joined as chief executive, with predecessor Adam Jarvis moving into a role as commercial director.
The comms and networking VAR’s annual report characterised its 2012 numbers as a “considerable achievement in a difficult economic environment”, despite net profit declining by more than three quarters from £937,000 to £221,000. Turnover was nigh-on flat, with a big percentage boost in international sales offsetting a 7.7 per cent decline in UK revenue, which was £32.4m.
With an annual turnover rise of 3.5 per cent, last year was a more stable one for the Brummie VAR, following a 2011 in which turnover declined more than 30 per cent as it opted to shift away from lower-margin business. The decision appears to have paid some early dividends, with 2012 operating profit jumping 57.2 per cent to £560,613.
Xerox IT Services
The company formerly known as ACS saw sales decline almost six per cent in 2012. But operating profit stood at £1.3m, compared with a £200,000-plus loss in the prior year. ACS landed in the UK via its acquisitions of IBM partners Syan and Anix several years ago.
This VAR has ambitious plans to grow into a £100m organisation by expanding from its core operations selling Apple technology into the education space. A B2B division was recently formed, and strategic acquisitions are also planned for the coming years.
100 - 92  |  91 - 83  |  82 - 74  |  73 - 65  |  64 - 56  |   55 - 47  |  46 - 38  |  37 - 29  |  28 - 20  |  19 - 11  |  10 - 8  |  7 - 5  |  4 - 2  |  1