€3.6bn-revenue giant Esprinet has opened its FY 2020 with a strong quarter, despite Italy's coronavirus lockdown, with CEO Alessandro Cattani saying it is well placed to meet the future challenges of the pandemic.
Q1 EBIT was €8.3m, up 24 per cent year on year. Revenues for the quarter were also up, by four per cent, to €913.8m.
"This is even more significant in the light of the context that developed in the second part of the quarter," Cattani said.
"From the onset of the Covid-19 emergency, our absolute priority has always been to protect the health of our employees and to guarantee continuity of the IT production chain which is essential and strategic for the countries where we operate to function properly."
A day after Italy's government instituted a country-wide lockdown in early March, the Vimercate-headquartered distributor reassured vendors and partners that it was still open for "full business continuity".
Esprinet said it had strengthened its working from home infrastructures, and kept its warehouses open and running in Italy, Spain and Portugal.
That decision appears to have paid dividends with Italy's largest distributor starting its financial year in such strong form.
However, Cattani conceded that the lockdown has affected supply from Asia.
"We have experienced some difficulties in receiving shipments from suppliers mostly dependent on plants located in China and South Korea that have been strongly impacted by the restrictive measures implemented by the respective Governments," he said.
Looking ahead, Cattani is anticipating these restrictions to continue to impact business, but says the board is confident enough to consider the possibility of consolidating smaller players in the market.
"We believe that the current emergency phase, combined with the historical buoyancy of the distribution sector toward a stronger consolidation, may induce some medium-small sized operators to accelerate their generational transition processes and within this scope, the Group will be well positioned to seize the opportunities that will emerge."
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