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Hefty Euro reseller: 'We laugh in the face of recession. Ha ha'

Specialist Computer Holdings sees sales and profits rise

Specialist Computer Holdings (SCH) tweaked the nose of the recession to record double-digit sales and profit rises in fiscal 2012 ended March.

According to unaudited numbers seen by El Reg, the Midlands-based parent of reseller SCC and distie group SDG grew turnover 10 per cent to more than £2.75bn and operating profits by 50 per cent to £45.8m.

In the UK, SCH gross profits were up 8 per cent in a year-on-year comparison, the company revealed.

Sir Peter Rigby, chairman and chief exec of SCH, sent us a statement saying that "although market conditions continue to be challenging, our policy of continued investment in the group and its activities has paid off".

Midlands-based SCH is part of the Rigby empire which also includes Coventry Airport and numerous hotels in the region.

Rigby added that "careful planning, savvy financial expertise and disciplined leadership" helped the group navigate choppy waters.

Overheads in the year went up by 3 per cent and the net positive cash balance was up £50m on 2011, said SCH, which claims to be Europe's largest privately held tech group.

Fiscal 2012 numbers signal improved fortunes for SCH, which like the rest of the channel has been trying to deal with the aftershocks caused by the credit crunch.

The firm took corrective actions in fiscal 2009, exiting operations in both Italy and Germany, which coupled with adverse trading conditions resulted in a group loss of £13m.

The following year it made a retained profit of £15m and in 2011 netted £11.25m.

SCH said fiscal 2012 was a period of "significant investment for the company, particularly around cloud services, as it built a range of dedicated solutions for the private and public sectors".

The firm said this cash injection has moved the group beyond its "traditional sales model" of shifting boxes solutions to a more services-based approach.

But the split between distribution or reselling and product versus services was not available in the unaudited numbers and SCH said it was unable to provide these stats.

The company swallowed French reseller LNA for an undisclosed sum in September to further boost operations on the continent and is launching a multi-tenancy cloud at the end of June to resell tech and biz services to G-Cloud users.

Rival Computacenter, which exited distribution several years ago after selling its unit to Ingram Micro, posted calendar 2011 profits of £72.1m on sales of £2.85bn, up 6.6 per cent on the previous 12 months. ®

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