A few years ago Misco had revenues north of £300 million operating profits of over £10 million and over 600 staff. It was still growing when it opened new offices in Weybridge in 2013.
However, four years later, the Misco UK name abruptly vanished from view and a last-minute rescue attempt to keep the business afloat in a reduced form fell through.
Its collapse comes seven months after a new management team, backed by Hilco Capital, bought the UK and European business from long-time parent Systemax.
But the rot had set in before the new team led by Alan Cantwell arrived and it was probably too late to fix what appears to have been management problems. Especially as its rivals such as Computacenter appear to be doing well.
Its rivals appear to be thinking that the spiralling death of Misco was an isolated case for the channel.
Misco UK’s operating losses widened to over £8 million in the year before the change in ownership. Systemax simply gave up and sold it. The feeling is that broadline, commodity distribution was dying, no one is making money from it and Misco was tried to reform too late.
Credit insurers began cutting their exposure to Misco and distributors became unwilling to deal with the reseller, with just a few supporting the business until recently.
Misco also received a winding-up petition from HMRC over unpaid VAT, leaving it with no “viable option other than to seek the protection of administration”.