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Distributor concern at software giveaways during crisis

In its Interim Report 2020, distributor ALSO says it saw big fluctuations in demand, on top of a jump to cloud and digital tools in recent months. But it was not impressed by the free offers and trials offered by vendors, even though these helped the ALSO Cloud Platform (ACMP) record €140m in sales (a rise of +42.9%) with 4.8 million (+62.8%) seats. It says it is encouraging to note that "this development was achieved at a time when several software vendors have offered an increasing number of free and trial licenses due to Covid-19". Including these, 19.0 million licenses are currently managed via the ACMP. Part of these will be converted into payed seats in the future, it assumes, though a precise specification is not possible at this early stage. Due to the increasing monetization, it will be necessary to look at the seats differently in the future, it says.

However, ALSO increased net profit by 31.9%, with net sales of €5.4bn (+13.1%), saying: "The Covid-19 pandemic led to a disruption of the economic systems worldwide. In the ICT industry, this was reflected in a fundamental change of the speed and intensity of market movements. Demand was determined by strong fluctuations regarding time as well as regions. During this phase, companies with flat structures, responsive analytics systems, robust, platform-based business models and a diversified ecosystem were positioned best. The rapid and early introduction of measures in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as additional hygiene precautions, shift systems in the warehouses, home office, etc., supported by specialists, ensured the company's ability to deliver. Resellers were also supported with various packages (financing, legal advice).

"ALSO is well prepared for these changes. The strategy (MORE and the 3-S business models), the ecosystem, the digital tools and platforms and the strengthening of the organization in the important areas of Solutions, Webshop, Cloud, IoT and Sales are the basis for achieving sustainable, profitable growth. I would like to thank all our customers, business partners, employees and investors for enabling us to achieve this result and thus create a solid foundation for the future", explains Gustavo Möller-Hergt, CEO of ALSO.

The annual target of €210m to €220m EBITDA is confirmed, as is the medium-term target of 250 to 310 million euros EBITDA. Due to the successful optimization of Net Working Capital, the ROCE range will be raised to 13 to 15 percent, he says. "Industry and economic experts agree that in the 'New Normal', IT technology will be the foundation for maintaining and developing companies. In this context, cloud models will become more attractive. They increase flexibility and response times and can also be financed for SMBs through the as-a-Service model."