‘We’re focused on acquiring UK businesses in new markets’ – Exertis

MD Gerry O’Keeffe has revealed that Exertis’ new UK warehouse will bring the distie’s recent acquisitions together and help the firm continue to grow into new markets.

Exertis is opening a 450,000 square foot warehouse, which O’Keeffe says addresses some issues the firm had with taking on a number of new acquisitions.

“The new distribution centre will bring Exertis together,” he told PCR. “Previously we operating with independent sites, but there was an opportunity to consolidate a number of our warehouses.

“Previously, all we’ve been able to do is add another warehouse. But as we’ve grown significantly from 2010, we were limited when it came to growing even further as we didn’t have a warehouse of sufficient scale.”

O’Keeffe touched on one of trends the distie anticipates within the channel in the coming years.

“Vendors will increasingly need support in servicing their customers directly. We want our customers to not have to hold everything in stock. Instead, we will hold it and customers can get it from us and send it to the end user in a very short space of time.”

The end-user fulfilment requirement is a key factor that O’Keeffe said Exertis needs to have in place – and it wouldn’t have been possible without the new warehouse.

“The idea is everything will run faster and at a bigger scale, so as our business continues to grow we can put more through the machine,” he said.

In the last few years, Exertis has acquired a number of firms, including Gem, Micro-P, and more recently, CUC Groupe and Computers Unlimited. But will the distie be slowing down any time soon?

“From a UK perspective, we’re of a scale that we’d only focus on acquisitions that would give us value beyond that which we have today – a skillset and market that we’re not currently present in,” revealed O’Keeffe. “They are the key drivers for acquisitions within the UK.”

We spoke to the distributor’s MD on the same day that the firm announced its latest financial results.

The report shows that profit was down 28.8 per cent YoY, but O’Keeffe insisted that Exertis’ parent company, DCC Group, saw a 35 per cent growth in profitability, which will help Exertis pursue its growth strategy in Europe.

The decline in revenue was partly due to a reduction in sales of product from one large supplier, says the distie.

“The vendor that we were very, very strong with changed its strategy over the course of a couple of years and pulled away from distribution over a period of time and focused on direct. So we came in to the year knowing it would be a difficult one in regards to that,” explained O’Keeffe.

Despite tablet sales being ‘disappointing’, he revealed that the firm saw huge growth in gaming products. “PC gaming and the components that go with it are clear drivers for growth for us in the future,” said O’Keeffe.

He also cited smart home products as another good driver for growth for Exertis in the last year.

“We’re seeing a lot of tractions with our retail customers around smart tech. It is opening up routes we wouldn’t have services before,” said O’Keeffe. “We’ve worked very hard to ensure we’re a leader in terms of the range of products we bring to market.”

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