Exertis parent company acquires Computers Unlimited in £24m deal

DCC Technology is also building a 450,000 sq ft UK distribution centre
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Exertis parent company DCC has acquired distributor Computers Unlimited for an initial enterprise value of £24 million.

DCC Technology, a division of DCC that includes supplier Exertis, has acquired the consumer electronics distributor which operates mainly in the UK but also has operations in France and Spain.

It has also announced plans to develop a new purpose built 450,000 sq ft UK national distribution centre.

Computers Unlimited has annual revenue of approximately £140 million and is focused on the connected home and professional design market, plus it also deals in Apple products. It sells to more than 2,000 partners in the UK and Europe and employs 200 people.

The deal was completed this month. It comes after DCC acquired Swedish tech distributor CapTech last September.

In a statement both firms said the Computers Unlimited business model aligns well with Exertis' commercial and is 'an excellent strategic fit'.

Niall Ennis, Group Managing Director at Exertis, said: “We are excited at the prospect of extending the reach of Computers Unlimited to the multiple retail channels that Exertis supports both in the UK and in France. This acquisition also extends the Exertis footprint into the Spanish retail sector, where Computers Unlimited has a growing presence.

"Likewise, we see significant opportunities to expand the reach of the brands currently working with Computers Unlimited into the Exertis operations in the Nordics and the Middle East.”

Ennis confirmed that everything is very much 'business as usual' and that Computers Unlimited will continue operating under its own brand identity. 

James Sanson, Chairman and CEO at Computers Unlimited, added: “Over the last 30 years, I’m so proud of what the fantastic team of past and present people at Computers Unlimited have achieved for us and our brands. Over that time we’ve launched and built channels for more than 100 brands.

"The opportunity to combine Computers Unlimited’s brand and channel building talents with Exertis’ retail, logistics and geographic strengths is very compelling. I’m confident the new combined business can offer a fantastic proposition and strong growth for our current and future brands.

“The acquisition of Computers Unlimited with its strong track record of distributing Professional Creative, Apple (iPhone/iPod/iPad/Mac) and Digital Home products is an excellent strategic fit for Exertis and the businesses’ combined strengths will create new growth opportunities.”

DCC Technology says its upcoming national distribution centre will be located close to the majority of its existing facilities, and will "consolidate the activities" of most of its seven existing warehouse facilities, "and provide capacity for further growth".

The relocation to the new facility will be conducted on a staged basis and will begin in the year ending March 31st 2017. The capital expenditure relating to these developments is of the order of £55 million, most of which will fall in the year ending March 31st 2016.

"Following the completion of these projects, apart from the capacity increases and cost efficiencies that should be generated, a significant proportion of this expenditure is expected to be recouped from the disposal of the existing facilities owned by DCC Technology and from improvements in working capital," DCC confirmed.

For the year ending March 31st 2015, DCC operating profit rose 10.5 per cent year-on-year to £221.7 million. Revenues fell four per cent overall to £10.6 billion.

Operating profit within DCC Technology rose 2.6 per cent to £49.3 million during the year.

Distributors Gem, Micro-P and MSE rebranded under the Exertis banner in late 2013.

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