UK superwholesaler reveals plans – exclusive



The chief executives of the UK’s newly-formed "super wholesaler" have spoken for the first time to OPI about their multi-million pound merger and their plans for the future.


Alan Barclay, head of Kingfield Heath and Bruce Robinson, head of ISA, described their new venture and the reasons for their coming together.


In this abridged joint interview, to be published in full in July’s issue of OPI magazine, Robinson said the journey to last week’s surprise announcement started in July last year.


And he explained how the ball started rolling.


He said: "The shareholders of ISA and Supplies Team initiated a project as far back ass July last year and engaged Rothschild Bank to put together ideas and proposals for the group going forward.


"Off the back of that we produced an information memorandum which was marketed privately to different groups of potential interest in the financial community and the trade.


"There were a number of different trade opportunities of which Kingfield Heath was one."


Fellow CEO, Alan Barclay, said it was "business as usual" for both companies as they started a three-month process of planning the integration.


He said: "For both Kingfield Heath and ISA, it is business as usual. In the foreseeable future the two companies will be run in exactly the same way as before, they will be competing with each other.


"Until such time that we have completed all the integration planning and are in a position to execute that planning, we’ll have to continue to run the businesses as we were previously."


Barclay explained that there still a lot of data to process as both companies have their first look at each other’s books.


He added: "Up until the point of doing the deal, we couldn’t access certain information of each company because it was so commercially sensitive and neither party wanted to actually disclose that until the deal was closed.


"Our planning process will run to three and a half months and then we’ll be in a position to make a further announcement. The planning process will determine a possible change of name for the company."


Robinson said the staff of both organisations are "extremely pleased" with the successful outcome of the delicate negotiations.


When asked what the combined benefits of the new super-wholesaler would be for dealers, Barclay replied: "The primary benefit will be our position in the market overall. Computer consumables’ sales account for more than 52 percent of the total products sold to the consumer. Proportionally, this represents the largest single range of products sold.


"At Kingfield Heath about 40 percent of our sales are in computer consumables, it was a business imperative for us to find a way of becoming equally as expert in the range development, the selling and the marketing as were in office products.


"Our merging with ISA means we can provide to our dealer customers that expertise in a way we simply could not have done on a stand-alone basis.


"We also need both companies to increase our scale and our efficiencies to support the service for our key vendor partners. As a bigger business we represent a more attractive proposition for distributing their products into the marketplace."


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