Dabs founder Dave Atherton returns to techland

Channel legend is back as chairman of Entatech

Dave Atherton, the founder, one-time CEO and owner at Dabs has returned to the IT industry as chairman of distributor Entatech, with a turnaround mission in mind.

Atherton, who sold his online tat bazaar to BT for £24m a decade ago, has since worked on numerous projects including property development and more recently a site for retail FX traders.

He told us he has joined the board as chairman but said he may invest at a later stage: “I am looking at the processes and procedures to see if we can do things better”.

The challenges facing Entatech are multiple and the business is still “dealing with the remnants of the Changtel situation”, Atherton said.

Changtel, formerly Enta Technologies UK Ltd, sold its trading operation to Entatech in June 2013, and was then the subject of a dispute with HMRC over claims of an unpaid £15.5m VAT bill.

The battle was won by the taxman and Changtel was wound up last summer, though liquidators queried a previous transfer of assets to Entatech.

A settlement with Entatech was reached in February, at the same time that MD Dave Steveinson undertook a management buy-out of the distributor.

Stevinson said the business has “stabilised”, he’d slotted in new board members in addition to Atherton, and had implemented a new ERP system.

The focus, like all distributors these days, is in the faster growing software and “solutions” but tin remains important.

Turnover in fiscal ’16 was £104m said Stevinson, down from £119.7m in the prior year. He didn’t talk profit but operating loss in the previous twelve months was £1.6m. ®

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