Westcoast has kicked the economic downturn into touch by posting a 15 per cent growth in turnover for its 2009 financial year.
The Theale-based distributor, which counts HP, Apple, Samsung, Toshiba and Microsoft as its top vendors, posted turnover of £651.2m in the 12 months to 31 December, compared with £564.9m in 2008. Pre-tax profit also increased to £5.9m, up from £4.5m in 2008.
Duncan Forsythe, managing director of Westcoast, said: “We have bucked the trend and grown profitably. This is also all organic growth. We went through a restructure in 2008 which caused some negative press, but it meant we were well placed to focus on growth in 2009.”
Joe Hemani, founder of Westcoast, said the distributor had also taken a risk by increasing its credit lines to resellers.
“We have engaged with our customers over the past year and we have exposure of several tens of millions out there to help the channel grow. The banks have run for cover, the insurers have run for cover, but we took the bull by the horns. We know the difficulties they are facing every day, but our bad debt numbers have been no worse than previous years.
“This should be a message to politicians – if you help good businesses, they will survive instead of just having a blanket assessment of everyone,” Hemani added.
Alex Tatham, sales and marketing director at Westcoast, said every area of the business had performed well.
“Our software business has doubled year-on-year, and our server business has been a particular success story, as high-end computing is coming back down to x86 computing,” he said. “A lot of the competition has been inward looking over the past year, be we have been able to focus on sales for the entire year, growing both our customer base and our revenue.”
Hemani echoed this.
“When times are good it is easy to ride the wave and a lot of our competitors acting irresponsibly on credit. When times are tough I don’t think these guys know how to behave. They started looking internally. They may have the scale, but that is not necessarily a good business model," he said.
He also praised the 450-strong Westcoast workforce.
“We had a lot of criticism in 2008 which was very difficult for everyone here, but these results prove that we knew what we were doing. We understood what was coming in terms of the economic hurricane and we were able to change at an early stage. It is a testament to the hard work of all our staff.”
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