The UK has regained its crown as Computacenter's largest territory after outshining Germany in the IT services and resale powerhouse's Q1.
Germany usurped the UK as the London-listed firm's biggest operation in mid-2011, going on to haul in £1.23bn in revenues that year compared with the £1.1bn tally achieved in its home market.
Since then, the two operations have endured contrasting fortunes. While the UK's performance has rebounded following a period of investment in headcount, Germany has struggled as it wrestles with the fall out from several "problem" contracts".
According to an interim management statement this morning, the UK saw sales rise six per cent year on year to £294.9m in Computacenter's Q1, with services revenue up 11 per cent and supply chain (ie product) up four per cent.
That was enough for the UK management to regain the bragging rights over their teutonic counterparts.
Germany, in contrast, saw sales wilt by seven per cent to £280.6m on an as-reported basis and 12 per cent in constant currency for the three months ended 31 March. Product revenue tanked 17 per cent, mainly due to a large one-off, low margin deal in the previous year, with services down two per cent.
Computacenter admitted that three German contracts were causing it problems and that a new operating model brought in at the start of the year had led to a number of local management changes.
French sales rose two per cent to £107.4m on an as-reported basis but fell three per cent in constant currency. Services were down seven per cent, with product up two per cent, and Computacenter said the challenging Gallic economic backdrop had resulted in a dearth of professional services projects, hurting its bottom line.
Citing the "ongoing German contractual issues" and the fact that France is now performing below its previous expectations - broadly at break even for the year - Computacenter admitted it now expects to make only "modest progress" against its overall 2012 numbers.
"It has clearly been a mixed performance for the business through this quarter, but we have a great deal to be excited about, particularly the UK performance and the underlying growth in our managed services pipeline across the group which continues to deliver exciting new opportunities," Computacenter stated.
"However, this fundamental improvement in the business is being masked by the remaining three problem contracts in Germany and challenging market conditions in France."
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