Computacenter sales down on PC slump

Profits hold steady-ish

Slumping product sales were to blame for a big drop in half year sales at Computacenter, the UK's biggest reseller produced group revenues £975m for the six months to June 30 (2001: £1,173.7m). It notes a 20 per cent fall in product sales during the period.

But improved margins on the back of better service revenues contained the fall in profits before to tax to £24.3m (£29.3m). Net income was £16.24m, down 18 per cent on 2001 (19.8m)

Computacenter generated £25m of cash during H1 (2001 £56m), closing the half year with a net cash position of £66.3m. Also it notes a "strong improvement" over the second half of 2001, with sales up 6 per cent and profit up 32 per cent.

Computacenter France saw revenues rise to £140.1m (2001: £117.1m), probably reflecting the first contribution of GECITS France, acquired during the period. Operating profit was a measly £0.2m (2001 £2.1m), which means that the business is almost certainly making an net loss. France's performance represnets a softening in market conditions, Computacenter says.

The reseller is calling the bottom of the market - it is "highly unlikely" that conditions will get worse. However, it does not detect an uptick yet. It is forecasting full year profits at a similar level of last year's £51.1m. ®