Acquisition is very much on the agenda for Westcoast Group chairman Joe Hemani as he looks to grow the business to around £2.3bn in the coming year.
The firm recently made what it labelled a "game-changing" acquisition of high-end printer distributor ArtSystems, and together with its acquisition of a stake in Dutch firm Supplies Service Partner (SSP) 18 months ago, it has a firm foothold in Europe.
Joe Hemani, chairman of Westcoast Group, told CRN: "We have to expand our horizons. And that is what we are doing. ArtSystems is a good, clean business, and it is where we want – and need – to be. For the group as a whole, I think we can grow 20 per cent this year. We grew 17 per cent last year so I am confident.”
He said growth would be both organic and through acquisition, particularly in Europe.
“Europe is very important to us. Our customers are in Europe, our suppliers are in Europe. There is a great opportunity and a bigger one if you are a risk taker.
“Take Eastern Europe: they have GDP of between four and five per cent. In established markets it is around two per cent. I’m happy with that, but I’m not going to be running naked down the high street. I’m definitely keeping my clothes on!
"We now operate across 13 countries in Europe and have a €220m-plus Euro business already in just 18 months.”
He admitted that the UK business has had a tougher start to the year, but is more than making up for it in Q2.
“The first quarter was challenging. If I’m honest we got a bit complacent, but the second quarter started really positively and we have recovered most of our losses from the first quarter in terms of market share in April already, with May looking OK too. We are putting focus where it is needed.”
Hemani said he does not monitor what the competition is up to.
“I don’t believe in benchmarks [for Westcoast]; I like to set the benchmarks. I don’t want to follow everybody else,” he said.
Security firm set to become part of acquisitive Shearwater Group
Distributor merges three northern sites into one new hub in Warrington
Activist investor puts forward five director candidates as turmoil continues at security giant
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany