Bullish distributor Westcoast has revealed aggressive growth plans for the coming year including more UK acquisitions.
The firm was recently ranked the eighth fastest growing private company in the UK by the Sunday Times KPMG Top Track 100, beating household names such as John Lewis, Virgin Atlantic and House of Fraser.
Joe Hemani, founder of Westcoast, said conditions in the channel were tough,
but being privately-held gives Westcoast an advantage over its public
“It is definitely hard at the moment and we are all working around horrible margins.
Interest rate rises are also not helping,” he said. “However being private means we are not burdened with the regulations that public companies have to go through. We have also always worked on the premise in distribution you cannot have any ‘fat’ which means you have to keep the cost base low.”
Hemani said the distributor, which went live as an Authorised Microsoft distributor earlier this year (CRN, 29 January) and has made several acquisitions over recent years including Clarity Ireland (CRN, 4 September) and Orion Media (CRN, 8 August 2005), also has an average staff turnover of between 12 and 15 years.
“Having a motivated workforce is very important and people tend to stay with Westcoast. We treat people as human beings – no matter what level they are – we all have the same goal – we want to win.”
Westcoast is planning to plunge into the mobility space over the coming year, Hemani added, which will involve broadening its vendor stable even further.
“Mobility has been talked about a lot over the past three or four years, but I think it will come to fruition over the next six months and we are planning on putting some serious cash behind it,” he said.
Hemani added the distributor was also looking at ‘two or three’ possible acquisition opportunities in the UK at the moment, but is sticking to a pure distribution model rather than branching out into a hybrid.
“We are always looking for acquisitions. Every acquisition is a good acquisition. However we prefer to stick to the knitting – and that is value added distribution,” he said.
Eddie Pacey, head of credit at Bell Micro, said: “Westcoast has done extremely well over the years and the acquisitions have helped with that growth, but clearly it has seen organic growth too.”
Loay Lawrence, commercial director at VAR Vohkus, said: “I would describe Westcoast as a lean, mean machine and it is definitely one of the better distributors out there.”
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