Computacenter's services business grew by half in the first six months of the year, balancing otherwise unexciting interim figures to achieve a 36 per cent overall increase in revenue in the UK.
Revenue rose to #514 million and, although business slowed compared to the record 65 per cent surge of 1996, the latest figures reflect the company's continued strong growth in the UK and French markets. Overall pre-tax profits rose by 30 per cent to #24.3 million.
"A growth rate over 60 per cent is not realistically sustainable, but we are still growing well ahead of the market, particularly in IT services where we are taking market share, and in PCs where we want to expand on our dominant position," said Phil Williams, head of corporate marketing.
In the UK, the services business grew by 52 per cent, contributing 20 per cent of total revenue. The company also hopes to continue to grow revenues from its developing electronic commerce business, where companies order products from an electronic catalogue over their Intranet, and eventually over the Internet.
Computacenter also expanded its non-UK European operations in this period. Revenues from the French operation contributed #44.4 million to revenue and the unit was profitable. In June theg group acquired a German Var, Bitservice Frankfurt, which it plans to use as the stepping stone to expand organically into the German market. Further European acquisitions are being looked at before the end of the year.
Williams said the company had just agreed to become a reseller for Sun's E10000 Enterprise Server range, as part of its plan to offer higher end solutions and compete more in the Unix market. He said sales of NT servers continued to grow very strongly however.
In November, the company is holding a conference to discuss the PC versus NC debate. Williams said it had supplied network computers for a number of pilot sites, including Natwest, but so far there was no demand for NCs for live systems.
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