Scotland?s largest reseller, Abtex Computer Systems, has sold its office supplies and furniture division to Turnhouse Office Equipment for an undisclosed but ?substantial six-figure sum?.
The sale forms part of its strategy to attack the PC reseller market in southern Scotland. Two weeks ago, Abtex outsourced its training business to Scopec International in its bid to refocus on the provision of computer systems and services within Scotland.
Six out of the seven members of staff at the office supplies arm will move to Turnhouse. One member will remain at Abtex to handle administration. The office supplies business?s sales of #1.5 million represented six per cent of Abtex?s annual turnover of #25 million.
As part of the agreement, Abtex will be recommending Turnhouse and Scopec as its preferred partners should any of its customers require office supplies or training.
Abtex joint managing director Jim Duncan said the proceeds of the sale will be used to grow its Scottish business and, in particular, to increase Abtex?s staff from 145 to 165 by the end of 1998.
?We are keen to grow our Scottish market first,? he said. ?About 90 per cent of our business is conducted within Scotland. Maybe later we could expand out of Scotland, but that is a few years away. Perhaps having more business in the South could help our Scottish business.?
As a PC reseller, Abtex dominates the Aberdeen oil exploration sector, a position that was confirmed when it clinched a #20 million three-year supply contract with Shell Expro in May last year (PC Dealer, 1 May 1996).
Abtex was the subject of a second round of venture capital in February last year after Duncan and fellow managing director Jim O?Hagan bought former chairman Brian Mills? 35 per cent share after he retired, and venture capitalist Baronsmead relinquished its 30 per cent stake. Duncan and O?Hagan now own 25 per cent each while Abtrust and 3i also bought 25 per cent stakes at the time of the management buyout.
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