Is computer biz Viglen about to GET FIRED? Lord Sugar's firm in rumoured sell-off

Sources say once-mighty PC builder headed to Westcoast Holdings


Lord Sugar is close to selling education tech supplier Viglen to Westcoast Holdings, folk in Blighty's system builder community are telling us – a claim that has been flatly denied by the named buyer.

The word on the street is that Hertfordshire-based Viglen has been in talks with the group, which also houses distributor Westcoast Ltd and – more pertinently – government-focused reseller XMA.

The nuts and bolts of the deal have been thrashed out, claimed one source, saying: "it is effectively a done deal," adding that both firms were "dotting the Is and crossing the Ts".

We are told staff at Viglen, which was established in 1975, became aware of sales rumours during the summer when it is understood that at least one system builder took a look.

Hirsute walnut Sugar's company Amstrad acquired Viglen in 1994 but Sugar stepped down as chairman in 2009. Claude Littner, one of Sugar's generals on Beeb show The Apprentice was brought in as director to boost results.

In the last filed numbers for fiscal 2012 ended September, Viglen made £2.1m net profit on sales of £66.2m - both were up year-on-year.

Viglen sells its own brand of desktops, servers, storage to all levels of education, healthcare, emergency services and corporate punters. It has also developed education specific software and services.

In Q2 this year, Viglen sold 21,800 desktops, according to GfK data.

Its ultimate parent company is Amprop London Ltd, which also houses Xenon Network Services, Vigecom and Amscreen Europe.

As for Westcoast Holdings boss Joe Hemani, the deal would bolster the education and public sector focused operations of XMA, headquartered in Nottingham.

XMA was not immune to the government's austerity measures in 2011 but staged something of a sales recovery in 2012 with turnover up 5.1 per cent to £122m. Operating profit dipped 18 per cent to £2.5m. Distie arm Westcoast grew to £960m from £826m and banked a banked a net profit of £5.5m from £4.5m.

Westcoast Holdings director Duncan Forsyth dismissed suggestions that an acquisition is to take place.

Viglen did not respond to calls for comment. ®

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