Enterprises gooey for Windows 10 as OS helps Computacenter rake it in

Brit, German, French markets buoyed by upgrade demands

Computacenter is paying £100m in dividends to shareholders after reporting a double-digit rise in profits on the back of a sales spike that was in part boosted by Windows 10 implementations.

According to unaudited numbers for the first half of 2017, revenue leaped 15 per cent year-on-year to £1.7bn with a 12.9 per cent upward shift in services to £562.1m and a 16.1 per cent rise in product sales to £1.138bn.

Mike Norris, chief exec at Computanceter, one of Europe's largest tech resellers, said the "majority" of its gains in the six months came from "improved operational performance, with some help from currency".

In the UK, turnover went up 5.1 per cent to £678.3m – professional services "rebounded", led by projects in the public sector and the business began to "see the impact of Windows 10... in the enterprise customer base".

Managed services sales "faced some headwinds" early in the year with the "continuation of heavy renewal activity", with more than £200m on existing business refreshed and new contracts signed.

On the product side, the data centre unit was "under pressure" as customers reviewed their software-defined and hybrid cloud strategies, the networking and security lines expanded too. Here also Microsoft's operating systems beefed up the numbers.

"We have seen a significant upturn in workplace supply chain services and projects on the back of Windows 10 momentum," said UK boss Kevin James. "As the digitisation of the workplace begins to materialise, our customers' demand is starting to shift in form factor, with substantial new mobility device deals into large customers."

Ops in Germany were up 13.6 per cent to €886.2m as reported, but jumped 25.5 per cent in actual currency. Again, professional services were lifted by "ongoing demand" for security, cloud migration and the move to Windows 10 and Office 365. A core infrastructure refresh including updating PCs helped product shipments.

The business is France grew 3.1 per cent to €265.5m and was up 13.8 per cent in actual currency, and the relatively minor subsidiary in Belgium grew 12.4 per cent to €35.4m in sales.

Operating profit was £42.9m from £23.4m a year earlier, and following a gain on the disposal of a property in Essex, finance costs and tax, net profit more than doubled to £34.47m, up from £16.06m.

Computacenter said it will return £100m to shareholders in the calendar fourth quarter, which will please shareholders including its two founders.

Sir Philip Hulme holds a 8.8 per cent stake so will add to his £210m fortune, which will help replace the £9.7m he gave to good social welfare and youth charities last year. He was 28th on the Sunday Times Giving List.

Sir Peter Ogden owns 6.5 per cent of the company, and was the 15th richest person in Britain according to the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated wealth of £350m, albeit down £20m and one place from the 2016 version. ®

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