Carlos Pérez-Herce, Country Manager of Econocom Group in Spain, recognizes himself prudently optimistic. He sees the bottle half full, despite the uncertainty of the moment and the supply problems inherited from the pandemic. The evolution of the Spanish subsidiary, with a sales growth of 18% in 2021, recovers pre-pandemic levels and invites the technology company to look ahead with ambition and confidence.
How do you evaluate the last year's results?
Econocom Group shared its 2021 annual audited results a few days ago, and had grown by 16%, with profits of 136 million euros. This is due to the implementation of a savings plan, initiated in 2019, which continues to bear fruit and has allowed us to increase profitability by 0.8 points. Global turnover reached €2.5 billion, a similar figure to the previous year.
What is the reason for the Group's investment freeze?
We haven't grown because the Group has focused on high added value customers. And, because of the delay in deliveries. However, the order book is higher than in previous years, with an estimated business of 100 million. The good news is that these orders are waiting for us.
How is Ukraine affecting you?
Is early to know the impact, apart from the price of electricity or the increase in the CPI. I think that it will get worse by the logistical issue, although the collapse was already there. We are aware of it, but it is not paralysing our business so far. The main problem is uncertainty. econocom's clients have not postponed investments son far. Taking into account all of this With caution, we are still optimistic regarding 2022. We haven't changed our strategy, and no one has told us to change anything related to any activity because of the invasion in Ukraine.
Let's talk about econocom Spain and its main accounting figures...
In 2021 we recorded an 18% increase in turnover compared to the previous year, to 245 million € according to international accounting standards. We also grew by one point in profitability. We are rebounding and recovering figures of 2019, pre-covid levels.
How much debt have you accumulated after the purchases of the last few years?
We have quitted the debt. It was a challenge we set ourselves and we have achieved made it. The Group is acquitted, and we are not dependent on anyone. The successful saving plan and the absence of debt allow us to deal with acquisitions, not only in France, but also in some countries that the Group considers strategic.
Is Spain one of them?
Yes, four or five key markets are key, and Spain is one of them, given to its high growth potential. We have been looking for companies and we already have a clear target that complements our activities and business model very well. I hope and expect that we will be able to announce something during this semester.
Have you come out of the pandemic stronger?
Yes, definitely, and in several ways. It was a very difficult situation where everybody tried to work together and that has created a very strong relationship. We have come out stronger thanks to our customers, who have invested again, sustainably and upwards. Living together with customers in such difficult times has allowed us to understand better all our solutions, which are very diverse, increasingly necessary for companies in their respective digital transformation processes.
What is econocom Spain forecast for this year?
We are going to continue our growth. The Group's estimate a rebound of around 5% and in Spain we expect to exceed that percentage, that is, we hope to exceed that percentage 5% in organic terms.
How do you expect to increase revenues in Spain?
In 2021 we have consolidated our relationship with customers, partners, integrators, and manufacturers. In addition, we have played with a great advantage: we have three different and very broad activities that encompass the entire digital transformation process, which positions us as the only ones with this range of proposals. We perceive that companies demand a single contract, and we offer it to them with solutions, services, and financing in an as-a-service model. The more we advance in our relationships with them, the more the customers get to know our solutions and the more they are attracted to adapt them for their transformation. That is very clear. We have seen it in 2021 and it is still growing.
How does econocom's CSR contribute to the common good approach?
Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is focused on three pillars: customers, ecosystem and employees. For the first one, we maintain, monitor and update equipments and devices to extend their useful life. In this way, we avoid the customer having to reinvest prematurely in new equipments. In addition, at the end of the contracts we collect the equipments. Then, we refurbish them and in 95% of the cases we recover them for their continued use.
This also reduces waste…
Yes, thanks to refurbishment, only 5% of the devices we recover must be taken to recycling points. Last year we recovered 25,000 assets, which is 10% more than the previous year.
What benefits does your company offer to the rest of the ecosystem and employees?
In the ecosystem, we collaborate with NGOs and associations to deliver refurbished equipment that we do not offload. We also invite our customers to do the same. Regarding employees, the pandemic has reinforced the feeling of unity and teambuilding. For example, 40% of the Group's managers are women and we have reduced temporary hires by 4% in two years which now represent only 5% of the total, so 95% of the staff are permanent employees.
"The Spanish subsidiary had invoiced 245 million in 2021 and this year we expect to grow more than 5%.”
Opt for the country:
“The Group considers Spain as a strategic market given its high growth potential."
"The market is asking for a single contract solutions, services and financing.”