Reseller Softcat has admitted it is "wary" of the upcoming general election but insisted its strong public sector unit, buoyed by a "fantastic" December, will continue to thrive over the coming months.
The firm's managing director Colin Brown (pictured) said the vote – which is set for 7 May – is causing some concern at the reseller, but that recent framework wins will help mitigate any election-based issues within the public sector business.
"We are wary about it, as you would expect," he said. "But interestingly we just had a fantastic December with our public sector business – which we don't usually – so we are seeing indications that public sector customers are bringing projects forward a bit.
"I have seen this before as I used to run the public sector business at Computacenter and tactically you see how these things shift. We are encouraged by that because if you look at the timeline, things might change a bit but if you look at the government financial year then we think we will still get good value. I am wary, but I think we will be OK.
"The other thing we are pleased about, as a result of recent framework [wins, is that] we now have a couple of public sector marketplaces in terms of defence and blue light and emergency that we didn't have access to before – so we are making good progress."
Last October, Softcat's chairman Martin Hellawell hinted that the firm may consider an IPO to support its long-term growth plans. Brown said that any decision about the company's future financial backing will certainly not happen this financial year, which ends in the summer.
"If you throw into the mix [the fact that] we have an election coming up, we would probably want to wait until things settle down to see what is happening in the country before we think about next steps," he said. "But in the short term it's very much as you were."
Next month will see Softcat open the doors to its new Leeds office, where about 12 existing staff will work.
The move comes after it set up a new Bristol branch last year, which is now home to about 50 staff. Over the course of the year, the reseller – which is headquartered in Marlow but has other bases in London and Manchester – plans to recruit another 200 staff, mainly graduates, which will take its headcount to about 900.
Brown said further regional expansion could be on the cards in either Edinburgh or Glasgow.
"We haven't got a firm plan to [open a new office in 2015] but we have got a plan to see what we can develop," he said. "To be open with you, the place where it would be really nice to open next is in Scotland. But in terms of our approach of landing existing Softcat people into the new office, that kind of thing takes a bit more planning.
"This [new office] may take a bit longer but that is the one we have got our eye on. I can't promise it will be 2015 but I would like to think we will have made good progress by the end of 2015."
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