Computacenter

Computacenter was one of Graphite’s most successful investments. We invested in a highly innovative early stage business in the rapidly expanding personal computer sector.

Computacenter, a Swindon-based reseller of personal computers, had been founded in the late 1980s to supply computer hardware. The market was expanding rapidly, allowing Computacenter to become the leading non-OEM supplier of personal computers in the UK.

The founders had been extremely successful in previous careers and had committed substantial finance and resource to the business. Their skills and strategic vision allowed the company to take advantage of the rapid growth in PC system sales resulting from falling hardware costs and the development of networking technology. By focusing on market share gains, Computacenter aimed to establish itself as one of the dominant players in a fast expanding market.

Key Business Achievements

Established itself as the UK market leader in its sector

Developed a national office network employing 2,500 staff by 1997; all growth was organic and all staff development was internal

Established direct operations in France and Germany and led a global joint venture of corporate resellers

Grew sales and operating profit in the run-up to flotation to £1.1 billion and £52 million respectively

13.0 x

Return on Graphite's Investment

Business Exit

Computacenter was listed on the London Stock Exchange in May 1998 with a market capitalisation of £1.1 billion. Graphite retained a shareholding until 2007, generating a multiple of 13.0 times cost and an IRR of over 45 per cent.