US distribution giant Tech Data is ready to buy a major UK distributor as part of its plan to expand into Europe, after acquiring Germany?s fourth biggest wholesaler, Macrotron.
Jeff Howells, Tech Data's chief financial officer, admitted the company will continue its policy of acquisition in large European IT markets after the Macrotron buy. "We will make appropriate acquisitions but there is no rush there," he said. "There are nice companies and groups we?ve looked at [in the UK] but we have enough to do for the time being."
Research figures suggest that after Ingram Micro, Frontline and CHS/Merisel, the biggest UK distributor it is possible to buy is Northamber. "They are public," Howells said. "But you never know in the distribution business."
In an exclusive interview with VNU Newswire, Howells said there are no acquisitions pending but hinted that discussions have taken place in the past. He also said Tech Data will only consider opening its own greenfield site in small European countries. "The most efficient way in any large country is to acquire," he said.
Macrotron is the fourth biggest distributor in Germany, after Computer 2000, CHS/Merisel and Actebis, and reported turnover of $905 million and profit of $5.3 million in its year to 30 September 1996. Tech Data chief executive Steven Raymund said: "We are excited about the opportunity to expand our reach in the growing European market. This reflects the continuation of our strategy to build a pan-European presence." Tech Data bought France?s biggest distributor, Softmart, in 1994.
For its year to 31 January 1997, Tech Data made $57 million on $1.31 billion turnover, following a year of growth. Howells said the financial performance gave Tech Data $625 million in revolving credit facilities "to provide the necessary capital to finance our planned growth".
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