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Acquisitions pay off for Compel

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Welwyn Garden City-based reseller Compel has revealed healthy growth in turnover and profit in its financial results for the year ending 30 June. Turnover was up some 88 per cent to £210.0 million, compared with £111.8 million for last year. Profit before tax stood at £9.0 million, up an impressive 78 per cent from last year’s £5.1 million. A representative of Compel said the whole group had performed well and companies acquired over the course of the last year had been integrated into the business smoothly. “We’ve won some new contracts and all parts of the business are doing well - including the new acquisitions,” he said. Compel went shopping three times last year, first it bought P&P Rentals in March 1997, second was Computer Microrentals in August 1997 and finally Scotland’s largest reseller, Abtex, was snapped up in October 1997 in a deal worth as much as £4.5 million. The two rental companies have been merged into Hamilton Rentals, Compel’s existing rental business. Taking the acquisitions out of the equation, turnover grew 68 per cent over the year. Last year, Compel was appointed the sole UK member of the GlobalServe alliance, an international reseller partnership intended to enable resellers without overseas subsidiaries to play on the global stage. It was also pitched as a credible alternative to dealing with multi-national operations such as GE Capital. The spirit of internationalism seems to be stalking the channel with resellers such as Info’Products and Elcom forming loose alliances with overseas companies as a way of raising their profiles. Last year, The Register predicted that the Abtex deal would turn out to work for Compel, when we said: “UK resellers are notoriously bad at acquisitions - but Compel appears to have the knack of making them work. Probably because it never bites off more than it can chew.” It looks like we were right.®

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