Distributor Anglia’s strength is its UK focus


Steve Rawlins, CEO, Anglia

Steve Rawlins, CEO, Anglia

Distributor Anglia has laid out ambitious plans to almost double its size over the next five years as it looks to strengthen its position as the UK’s biggest independent player in its sector.

The Cambridgeshire-based business aims to increase its turnover to £100m by 2022, up from £52.7m in 2016 and a projected £61m this year. It plans to increase its market share from the 4.7% it currently controls to about 10%.

Benefit of falling pound

Anglia’s chief executive Steve Rawlins told Electronics Weekly that the business was benefiting from its UK‑based customers exporting more, partly due to the fall in the value of the pound.

Rawlins said that the targeted average 13% growth rate in the coming years was “aggressive” but achievable, especially given that this year the company was on track to post almost 15% growth.

He said that he had made the decision to publicly share the company’s plans to remain independent because he was sick of people asking whether Anglia would sell to a larger rival, in a distribution market that is currently defined by a trend for consolidation.

“This isn’t a lifestyle business and we’re not looking to sell,” Rawlins said. “We want to give certainty to our customers and our suppliers about where we’re going.”

New products

He added that the growth was necessary as major suppliers such as Analog Devices and STMicroelectronics bring new products to market.

“There’s an expectation of getting those products designed-in quickly. With big suppliers like that, you need a big organisation,” Rawlins said.

Anglia plans to grow its business organically to achieve its five-year plan, with merger and acquisition activity relatively unlikely, given that the market is already well consolidated – although Rawlins said he would not rule out an acquisition should the right opportunity arise.

“Consolidation in the market has helped us because as it happens, customers have less choice,” he said.

The company’s growth has led to a recruitment drive, with the business currently looking for six field application engineers.

Investment boost

Rawlins said that Anglia is also performing well thanks to a bigger‑than-usual investment late last year in inventory, meaning it has stocks of product in a market where allocation of certain products – including chip resistors and chip capacitors – is under way for the first time in years.

Anglia is using that stock to support its regular customers, Rawlins said. He added that the growth in demand was driven in part by UK-based businesses seeing a boom in exports – especially in markets such as security technology and wireless.

High demand for components from tier-one automotive businesses was also a major factor in current shortages, he said.

Outside of the UK, Rawlins revealed that Anglia is considering opening a distribution hub in eastern Europe to serve its UK customers who are outsourcing to contract manufacturers in the region, although he admitted it was too early in the process to say where that would be.

“Some of our customers who went to Asia to manufacture are now coming back to eastern Europe,” he said. “We have a lot of customers who are buying from us as a UK point of sale and who are asking us to ship deliveries to the EMS in Poland, Romania, Hungary or elsewhere. So we need to do something.”

Confident about the future

And he said that he was confident about Anglia’s prospects as the UK moves towards leaving the EU.

In the short term, the company is benefiting from the devaluation of the pound, while in the longer term it believes Brexit is likely to play to Anglia’s strengths as a business focused on UK-based customers and with distribution run from a UK-based warehouse.

It is also pushing hard on its delivery performance, which it makes available to customers through the ‘Anglia Sigma’ online customer dashboard.

“We have challenged our competitors to publish their delivery performance figures which they have so far failed to do,” said Rawlins.

Anglia factfile

  • CEO: Steve Rawlins
  • Based: Wisbech, Cambridgeshire
  • Products: Over 800,000 product lines stocked
  • Scale: Fifth largest UK distributor in 2016 (source: ECSN); 27th largest distributor in the world (source: ESB)
  • Turnover: 2017: £61.8m (projected); 2016: £52.7m.

See: Demand surge causes a shortage of components



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