Softcat set to open up Scottish operation as sales spike continues

Publicly-listed reseller doing just fine in Q1, thanks very much


Cuddly-named unstoppable reselling machine Softcat keeps on growing in double digits, is hiring more staff and setting up shop north of the border, according to its first trading update as a publicly traded entity.

The Marlow-based tech supplier launched itself onto the London Stock Exchange last month. The listing price was 240 pence per share, which valued the business at a cool £472.3m, but trading on the opening day started at 281 pence.

In a statement to the City today, the reseller revealed a 14 per cent spike in revenue for the three months ended 31 October to £141m, with expansion in “both customer numbers and revenue per customer”.

Gross margin was “broadly in line” with the 2015 financial year - 17.2 per cent for the record. The business mix across the portfolio and customer segments “remained stable”, said Softcat.

In other highlights, 74 account managers were added in the quarter, and plans were developed to open a satellite sales office in Glasgow to “spearhead growth in Scotland”.

The lease of office space has been agreed in principle and a starting team of account managers has been identified. Softcat expects to cut the ribbons on the new office in its Q3 of fiscal year 2016, which ends in April.

The company hailed a “solid start to the year” with “good growth” in top line and expects to stay on financial targets for the year.

“The company’s performance over the first quarter provides a firm foundation on which to begin life as a public company,” said CEO Martin Hellawell.

There was a spike in the share price to 295 pence following the IPO but it has since fallen to 281 pence. The listing made a bunch of Softcat people overnight millionaires, including founder and chairman Peter Kelly, Hellawell, and provided a Christmas pressie fillip to a bunch of staff.

Softcat is the first UK tech reseller of size to list since Computacenter came onto the market in the 90s. Given the share price, it is seen as indicating that there's still life in straight reselling, if done well.

In fiscal 15 ended 31 July, Softcat turned over £596m in sales, up 18 per cent year-on-year and reported an operating profit of £39.58m, itself up eleven per cent. ®

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