Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Softcat https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Softcat RSS feed en Thu, 23 May 2019 16:33:45 +0100 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Softcat purrs over strong trading performance ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220578/softcat-purrs-over-strong-trading-performance-220578.html Softcat PLC (LON:SCT) said it was confident that its full-year results will now be even further ahead of recently-upgraded expectations.

The FTSE 250-listed IT reseller said it had delivered “strong” year-on-year growth “across all income and profit measures” for its third quarter to 30 April, leading it to foresee numbers that will be “slightly ahead” of the latest forecasts.

READ: Softcat surges as strong first half leads to upgraded full year forecasts

This upgrade follows one in March where the Marlow-based company posted a strong set of half-year results and said it expected results for the 12 months to end-July to be “marginally ahead” of previous predictions.

In December it had bumped up expectations from December’s statement that it was “materially ahead” of the start of the year, where it had warned that “exceptional market conditions” would make it difficult to keep up the pace of growth.

Softcat said the drivers for its recent performance were broad-based, with growth across technology areas and customer segments.

With offices in London, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow and Fareham, a new office in Birmingham is likely to open soon after July.

House brokers bullish

House broker Credit Suisse upgraded both its full year revenue and EPS forecasts by 3% after the update, with new numbers indicating 18% growth in gross profit and an assumption that this growth in FY20 will be around 8%.

"The fact that growth is broad-based suggests that strong momentum should be sustainable. It is always hard to disaggregate cyclical from structural growth, but the technology/ infrastructure that supports today's digital imperatives seems less discretionary than it ever has, providing some longevity to the current cycle."

Joint house broker Jefferies felt that ten consecutive quarters of strong growth against an increasingly tougher comparable, suggested Softcat's investments in expanding the business via headcount and services are paying off.

"Looking ahead, we believe these investments will enable Softcat to continue growing wallet share among its client base. Indeed, the company's wallet share outside of its top 100 customers is currently limited."

Shares in Softcat were up 2.5% to 963.5p on Monday afternoon. 

-- Adds share price and broker comment --

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Mon, 20 May 2019 08:18:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/220578/softcat-purrs-over-strong-trading-performance-220578.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Q3 2019 Trading Update ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190520070006_14079270/ Mon, 20 May 2019 07:00:06 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190520070006_14079270/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190510090151_14069593/ Fri, 10 May 2019 09:01:51 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190510090151_14069593/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190510085853_14069583/ Fri, 10 May 2019 08:58:53 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190510085853_14069583/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190410115225_14036237/ Wed, 10 Apr 2019 11:52:25 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190410115225_14036237/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190409093810_14034138/ Tue, 09 Apr 2019 09:38:10 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190409093810_14034138/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190325092102_14014099/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 09:21:02 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190325092102_14014099/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190321102824_14010778/ Thu, 21 Mar 2019 10:28:24 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190321102824_14010778/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190321102759_14010777/ Thu, 21 Mar 2019 10:27:59 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190321102759_14010777/ <![CDATA[News - Softcat surges as strong first half leads to upgraded full year forecasts ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/216742/softcat-surges-as-strong-first-half-leads-to-upgraded-full-year-forecasts-216742.html Softcat PLC (LON:SCT) shares surged in mid-morning trading Tuesday after the FTSE 250 IT group upgraded its full-year profit forecasts on the back of a strong first-half performance.

In the six months ended January 31, the company reported a pre-tax profit of £34mln, up from £24.1mln a year ago while revenues jumped to £434mln from £358mln.

READ: IT specialist Softcat “materially ahead” of expectations after stellar December

The group also added 620 customers in the period, increasing its total by 6.5% to around 10,100.

As a result of the improved performance, the firm’s interim dividend was hiked 36% to 4.5p.

Graeme Watt, Softcat’s chief executive, said the period had been characterised by “additional market share gains” as well as an uptick in gross profit per customer of almost 20%.

“Those metrics extended our run of unbroken year-on-year income and profit growth to the 54th quarter.”

Looking forward, Watt added that the company now expected its full year to be “marginally ahead” of previous expectations.

The increased forecasts followed a previous update in December when Softcat said it had been “materially ahead” of where it had expected to be at the end of its first quarter, contrasting predictions from October that warned “exceptional market conditions” would make it difficult to keep up the pace of growth.

Shares were up 4.9% at 878p.

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Tue, 19 Mar 2019 10:02:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/216742/softcat-surges-as-strong-first-half-leads-to-upgraded-full-year-forecasts-216742.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Half-year Report ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190319070004_14006579/ Tue, 19 Mar 2019 07:00:04 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190319070004_14006579/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190308131241_13995968/ Fri, 08 Mar 2019 13:12:41 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190308131241_13995968/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190301105344_13987293/ Fri, 01 Mar 2019 10:53:44 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190301105344_13987293/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notice of Results ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190221100002_13977161/ Thu, 21 Feb 2019 10:00:02 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190221100002_13977161/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190208165722_13963869/ Fri, 08 Feb 2019 16:57:22 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190208165722_13963869/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190201135808_13955790/ Fri, 01 Feb 2019 13:58:08 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190201135808_13955790/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190131152629_13954107/ Thu, 31 Jan 2019 15:26:29 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190131152629_13954107/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Additional Listing of Shares and PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190131091013_13953363/ Thu, 31 Jan 2019 09:10:13 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190131091013_13953363/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190130163615_13952423/ Wed, 30 Jan 2019 16:36:15 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190130163615_13952423/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190130163611_13952422/ Wed, 30 Jan 2019 16:36:11 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190130163611_13952422/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190116141629_13937017/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 14:16:29 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190116141629_13937017/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Additional Listing of Shares and PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190116140435_13937012/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 14:04:35 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190116140435_13937012/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190109144810_13929296/ Wed, 09 Jan 2019 14:48:10 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190109144810_13929296/ <![CDATA[News - IT specialist Softcat “materially ahead” of expectations after stellar December ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/212221/it-specialist-softcat-materially-ahead-of-expectations-after-stellar-december-212221.html Shares in Softcat PLC (LON:SCT) surged on Wednesday after the IT infrastructure specialist told investors it is “materially ahead” of where it had expected to be at this stage.

At the end of November, the FTSE 250 company said it was “pleased” with how it fared in its first quarter, with boss Graeme Watt adding that he was confident of meeting full-year expectations.

READ: Softcat reports year-on-year growth in Q1

The “strong” trading it reported back then continued throughout December and into the new year.

“As we approach the end of our first half, we are now materially ahead of where we expected to be at this stage of the year,” read a short statement ahead of its interim results for the six months to 31 January.

The bullish outlook is a complete contrast to its predictions in October when it cautioned that “exceptional market conditions” would make it difficult to keep up the pace of growth.

Shares jumped 17% to 688.9p in early deals on Wednesday.

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Wed, 09 Jan 2019 08:55:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/212221/it-specialist-softcat-materially-ahead-of-expectations-after-stellar-december-212221.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Trading Update ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190109070002_13928139/ Wed, 09 Jan 2019 07:00:02 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20190109070002_13928139/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181211144814_13899681/ Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:48:14 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181211144814_13899681/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Result of AGM ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181206163004_13894732/ Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:30:04 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181206163004_13894732/ <![CDATA[News - Softcat reports year-on-year growth across the board in first quarter ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/210102/softcat-reports-year-on-year-growth-across-the-board-in-first-quarter-210102.html Softcat PLC (LON:SCT) said it has delivered year-on-year growth in the first quarter of the year in the first update since a cautious set of final results in October.

The FTSE 250 IT infrastructure firm said demand had remained strong across all segments during the period, with growth in revenues, gross profit, and operating profit.

READ: Softcat strikes a cautious note on growth

The company added that it had continued to invest in scale and developing its offering. Its Irish office, which had opened during the period, had also started well.

Graeme Watt, chief executive of Softcat, said both customer numbers and gross profit per customer had grown in the first quarter, in line with the firm’s “simple strategy”.

“The breadth and depth of our offering, together with the scale and diversity of our customer relationships, remain key strengths upon which we continue to build and during the Period we saw good growth across all customer and technology segments”.

Watt added that the second quarter had “started well” and that the firm was confident of meeting its expectations for the year.

The update is the first since the group’s results for the last full year in October when it cautioned that “exceptional market conditions” in the year would make it difficult to keep up the pace of growth into the current fiscal year.

Revenue in the 12 months to the end of July 2018 crashed through the billion pounds barrier to hit £1.08bn, up from £832.5mln the year before while customer numbers rose 4.7% to 11,900.

In early trading Wednesday, Softcat shares were down 0.3% at 587p.

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Wed, 28 Nov 2018 08:25:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/210102/softcat-reports-year-on-year-growth-across-the-board-in-first-quarter-210102.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Q1 2019 Trading Update ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181128070002_13882681/ Wed, 28 Nov 2018 07:00:02 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181128070002_13882681/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181126161033_13880763/ Mon, 26 Nov 2018 16:10:33 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181126161033_13880763/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181126160940_13880762/ Mon, 26 Nov 2018 16:09:40 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181126160940_13880762/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181126155111_13880749/ Mon, 26 Nov 2018 15:51:11 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181126155111_13880749/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181112090942_13863122/ Mon, 12 Nov 2018 09:09:42 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181112090942_13863122/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Annual Financial Report ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181102120741_13853368/ Fri, 02 Nov 2018 12:07:41 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181102120741_13853368/ <![CDATA[News - Softcat strikes a cautious note on growth ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207280/softcat-strikes-a-cautious-note-on-growth-207280.html Softcat PLC (LON:SCT), the FTSE 250 information technology infrastructure specialist, found the market hard to please with its full-year results.

The shares were down 4.5% at 716p, despite what broker Jefferies described as a “modestly ahead set of results”, as management said that “exceptional market conditions” enjoyed in the year just ended would make it difficult to keep up the pace of growth in the current fiscal year.

READ: Softcat expects full-year profit ahead of expectations

Revenue in the 12 months to the end of July crashed through the billion pounds barrier to hit £1.08bn, up from £832.5mln the year before. The market had been expecting revenue of around £1.06bn.

Customer numbers rose 4.7% to 11,900 from 11,400 the previous year while gross profit per customer rose 22.8% to £14,700 from £12,000 the previous year.

Profit before tax improved to £68.14mln from £50.30mln a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings per share increased to 28.8p from 20.9p the previous year, paving the way for a proposed final dividend of 8.8p (2017: 6.21) and a special dividend of 15.1p (2017: 13.5p).

The company said it had benefited from exceptional market conditions in 2018 and that despite the current political and economic uncertainty, and notwithstanding tough comparative figures, it is confident of achieving further profitable growth in 2019.

Trading in the first ten weeks of the new financial year has been encouraging, it added.

"I'm delighted to report on a very successful year for Softcat with revenue surpassing £1 billion for the first time, net profit margin rising, and cash conversion being maintained at close to 100%,” said Graeme Watt, the chief executive officer of Softcat.

“The adoption of technology change continues to gather pace, as customers take the opportunity to embrace the benefits of digital transformation. In 2018 we saw customers from all sectors invest and this is reflected in our customer metrics. Both revenue and gross profit per customer increased significantly, as we benefited from a strong market and the increasing trust placed in us by our clients. Our long-term strategy of growth through sustained investment means we remain well-positioned to keep pace with the accelerating needs of customers,” he added.

House broker Jefferies left its fiscal 2019 forecasts largely unchanged and its rating at ‘hold’, although it cranked up its price target to 790p from 760p.

“The acceleration in gross profit per customer was the key highlight,” Jefferies said.

“It is worth pointing out that Softcat refined its calculation of customer numbers to remove the impact of multiple customers being recorded where they were part of a common group structure. As such the company restated the FY17 comparatives for customer numbers and gross profit per customer accordingly. We understand that the restatement has relatively limited impact on the YoY [year-on-year] growth figures for the prior years,” Jefferies revealed.

 

We've raised £2M for good causes over the last few years for charities like @macmillancancer and @comicrelief. Ours staff have a great time fundraising in different and creative ways, read more here: https://t.co/3CGb3rOSEk

— Softcat (@softcat) October 17, 2018 ]]>
Wed, 17 Oct 2018 10:48:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/207280/softcat-strikes-a-cautious-note-on-growth-207280.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181017070004_13831390/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 07:00:04 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181017070004_13831390/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181010165700_13824073/ Wed, 10 Oct 2018 16:57:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20181010165700_13824073/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180912102354_13788018/ Wed, 12 Sep 2018 10:23:54 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180912102354_13788018/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180810142939_13751882/ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 14:29:39 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180810142939_13751882/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180711155153_13714445/ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 15:51:53 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180711155153_13714445/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180711110943_13713965/ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 11:09:43 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180711110943_13713965/ <![CDATA[News - Softcat expects full-year profit ahead of expectations ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/200446/softcat-expects-full-year-profit-ahead-of-expectations-200446.html Softcat PLC (LON:SCT), UK provider of IT Infrastructure products and services, has announced that it “has continued to perform exceptionally well” and expects profit to be ahead of expectations.

In a trading update for the year ending July 31, the FTSE 250-listed firm said that marketing conditions have been very favourable and growth against prior year has accelerated.

READ: Softcat earns top billing as investors recognise the opportunity

 As a result, the company said the board now expects that full-year 2018 adjusted operating profit will be materially ahead of its prior expectations.

Softcat said its preliminary results are scheduled for release on 17 October 2018. 

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Tue, 10 Jul 2018 07:50:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/200446/softcat-expects-full-year-profit-ahead-of-expectations-200446.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Trading Statement ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180710070006_13711315/ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 07:00:06 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180710070006_13711315/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180703165654_13704325/ Tue, 03 Jul 2018 16:56:54 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180703165654_13704325/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180612103500_13676209/ Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:35:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180612103500_13676209/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Q3 2018 Trading Update ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180523070004_13651251/ Wed, 23 May 2018 07:00:04 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180523070004_13651251/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180510155828_13636938/ Thu, 10 May 2018 15:58:28 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180510155828_13636938/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180430130957_13623974/ Mon, 30 Apr 2018 13:09:57 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/14283/LSE20180430130957_13623974/ <![CDATA[News - Softcat earns top billing as investors recognise the opportunity ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/195777/softcat-earns-top-billing-as-investors-recognise-the-opportunity-195777.html Softcat PLC (LON:SCT) is a middleman and proud of it.

"We supply anything and everything for an IT infrastructure platform", says Graham Charlton, the company’s chief financial officer.

WATCH: Softcat's people first approach 'proving a winner' 

In its early stages as a listed company late in 2015 meant that Softcat was grouped among the IT equipment re-sellers, but perceptions have changed as the company has consistently exceeded expectations.

Softcat shares have risen by a third to 689p since strong interim numbers were flagged in February and are currently close to an all-time high with a punchy market value of £1.36bn.

A sales operation

Softcat is first and foremost a sales operation, says Charlton and customers relationships are the key to its success.

While there are about 200 companies in the UK overall supplying IT products, the differentiator is Softcat's quality of advice and human relationship factor.

“Everyone knows what we do but it is hard to replicate.”

The original market was the IT needs of the small and medium-sized company sector.

It is still number one in this SME market but recently has shifted up the value chain to include larger enterprises in both the public and private sectors.

Once you get above 50 employees that is where we come in, says Charlton, which amounts to around 90,000 companies and organisations in the UK.

Number two overall

Though number two overall, it still only has a 6% share, which Charlton says leaves plenty of opportunity to grow further.

Softcat has agreements with around 2,000 vendors, groups such as Cisco, Microsoft, Dell, and it is the ability to meet the needs of both customers and suppliers that is the heart of its business

“Vendors can’t build a sales force to reach 90,000 customers in the UK, while customers can have up to 90 IT vendors.

“We solve both problems as the middleman not just by re-selling but offering advice and expertise.”

For example, as an alternative to just placing an order for twenty servers customers now ask how to handle storage requirements.

"We will offer options such as the cloud, new servers, renting data centre space or a hybrid solution."

Technical investment

Hence the investment in new technical staff and a heavy focus on attracting the right salespeople.

Every year, Softcat takes on up to 200 graduates as possible account managers.

New recruits are told at the start they have two years to shape up and build links with their own customers.

It’s a tough school, Charlton admits, and only about half make it through the process but one of the reasons why Softcat has been successful has been the strong links it forges with clients.

Customers rarely leave if they have been with the group for two years and to build on that strength the plan in recent years has been to invest heavily to add technical nous and sales depth.

Staff numbers have risen from 750 to 1,150 over the past three years and the benefits of these extra bodies started to show through in this year’s halfway numbers with sales up 25% at £473mln and profits by 15% at £24.1mln.

Some 600 new customers were added in the period while gross profit per customer grew by more than 15%.

Execute well

Graeme Watt also became chief executive while founder Martin Hellawell stepped up to non-executive chairman, but given how well the strategy is working currently a change in style seems unlikely.

“We’ve invested in the right things over a sustained period," said Charlton.

“The market opportunity is there for the taking, all we have to do is execute well on it.”

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Wed, 25 Apr 2018 13:33:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/195777/softcat-earns-top-billing-as-investors-recognise-the-opportunity-195777.html
<![CDATA[Media files - Softcat's people first approach 'proving a winner' - CFO Graham Charlton ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/9110/softcat-s-people-first-approach-proving-a-winner-cfo-graham-charlton-9110.html Thu, 19 Apr 2018 15:23:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/9110/softcat-s-people-first-approach-proving-a-winner-cfo-graham-charlton-9110.html