Bechtle’s remarkable success as an IT provider has spanned more than 35 years. Founded in Heilbronn, Germany, in 1983, it has grown from a microbusiness to an established international partner delivering future-facing IT. We’re firmly anchored in our local region, yet globally connected. And our 11,700 employees strive each and every day to turn your IT projects into a resounding success.
A choppy economy and the IT industry’s pummelled supply chain could not throw Bechtle off its successful course. The overall business volume increased by 7.3 per cent to 6.25 bn euros, while revenue gained 5.1 per cent to settle at 5.3 bn euros (excluding revenue from standard software; see bechtle.com/ifrs15. At the end of the year, there are 12,880 people working for Bechtle, or 700 more than the year before, and backlogged orders surged to a historic 1.8 bn euros. Further highlights: The Global IT Alliance welcomes new partners in Canada, the Caribbean and India, and Bechtle introduces its Sustainability Strategy 2030.
The year is dominated by the COVID 19 pandemic, with all its effects on the economy, everyday working life, and private life. With an outstanding team of now 12,180 employees, Bechtle defies the crisis: revenues increase to 5.8 billion euros, EBT by 14.6 percent, and the margin improves from 4.4 to 4.7 percent. In addition, Bechtle achieves remarkable new records by exceeding 2 billion euros in revenues in the business with public clients, the historically highest parcel output in central logistics, and 30,000 applications received.
After hitting its mark of 10,000 employees, Bechtle also reaches its Vision 2020 revenue goal with a jump of over one billion to now 5.3 billion euros. No less than nine acquisitions see more companies than ever join the Bechtle Group. By the end of the year, 11,487 people work for Bechtle. And the Bechtle share is flying high, soaring 84.5 per cent over the course of the year.
All sights are locked on growth. On 24 September, Bechtle AG debuts on the MDAX, putting it firmly on the list of Germany’s top 90 companies. The acquisition of Inmac Wstore S.A.S in France is Bechtle’s biggest haul to date. Bechtle introduces its own brand, ARTICONA, and in December, the company counts over 10,000 employees. Revenues climb past the four-billion-euro threshold as Bechtle raises the bar with a new Vision 2030.
Bechtle AG continues to expand its Software Division by acquiring Smartpoint IT Consulting GmbH with locations in Linz and Vienna, the system houses Ulbel & Freidorfer in Graz and Comformatik AG located in Villingen-Schwenningen. Bechtle also adds another partner to its global network—The Softline Group, headquartered in Moscow, opening up the markets in Russia, Turkey and the CIS. In December, Bechtle surpasses one billion euros of revenue in its public sector business for the first time.
Two new partnerships are forged in Latin America—Compucentro in Mexico and Microware in Brazil. Shortly after, Bechtle adds yet another member to their Global IT Alliance—Data#3 Limited in Brisbane, Australia. Bechtle expands its existing IT solution portfolio to include its own product and project financing solutions for the first time through Bechtle Financial Services AG. Bechtle merges with Steffen Informatik AG and gains five new locations in Switzerland. At the central logistics hub in Neckarsulm, Bechtle introduces an augmented reality solution, equipping warehouse staff with smart glasses. This is the world’s first live deployment of SAP’s mobile AR Warehouse Picker app. 7,667 dedicated employees smash the three billion euro mark in revenues.
Bechtle expands the Global IT Alliance—cooperative partnerships with Japan Business Systems in Tokyo, Jardine OneSolution Limited in Hong Kong and Datacentrix Holdings Limited in South Africa open up access to further attractive markets for Bechtle. Bechtle continues to grow with the opening of a new branch in Saarbrücken and the founding of a branch in Belgium specialising in procurement solutions for the public sector. For the first time, Bechtle employs more than 7,000 people, 7,205, to be precise. Revenues grow to 2.82 billion euros.
Bechtle becomes Germany’s number one IT system house (in terms of domestic revenue). Around 200 children explore their parents’ workplace during the first Bring-Your-Kid-To-Work Day. Bechtle builds strategic alliances with IT suppliers PC Connection (USA), Atea (Scandinavia and Baltic countries), and Lexel (New Zealand and Australia). Bechtle strengthens its presence in the Austrian market with the acquisition of Planet! Software-Vertrieb & Consulting GmbH in Vienna. Bechtle also acquires Amaras AG—a specialist in on-site services. ARP, part of the Bechtle Group, expands into Belgium with the founding of a new IT e-commerce company. Revenue rises to 2.58 billion euros and the number of employees increases to 6,572
Right at the start of Bechtle's 30th anniversary year, the new office space at Bechtle Platz 1 is ready for use. The headquarters now has 27,600 m2 at its disposal. Acquisition of Viritim Systemhaus GmbH in Karlsruhe expands the Software Division. Bechtle also expands its IT System House segment in Switzerland by acquiring Sedna Informatik AG as well as Sitexs-Databusiness IT-Solutions GmbH in Vienna. Revenue increases to 2.27 billion euros—a new record. The number of employees rises to 6,219.
This entire year is focused on laying the foundation for Bechtle’s future. Major events include further acquisitions, new locations in Ulm and Augsburg, as well as a new e-commerce company in Hungary. In addition, the brand-new Bechtle Remarketing GmbH subsidiary adds another dimension to Bechtle’s portfolio. Over 500 employees are added to the payroll, bringing the total to 5,970. They are offered more opportunities than ever before to develop skills, acquire qualifications and attain certifications. Bechtle also receives several awards recognising its performance and customer satisfaction. Construction to expand Bechtle’s headquarters is completed, increasing the building’s capacity to 1,650 employees.
With its newest subsidiary in Poland, the e-commerce brand Bechtle direct is now present in twelve European countries. Bechtle also acquires the iits group of system houses (taking over four locations in northern Germany) as well as HTH Consulting GmbH, located in St Pölten, Austria. CAD software specialist Solidpro Informationssysteme GmbH, which has nine locations throughout Germany, also joins the Bechtle Group. Revenues reach a record-breaking 1.72 billion euros, and the number of employees rises to 4,800.
Competence Days 2010.
Gerhard Schick honoured by the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Bechtle's marathon team.
In the midst of the worst economic crisis of the post-war era, Bechtle remains confident in the Group’s ability to prevail, establishing yet another e-commerce subsidiary—this time in Portugal, Bechtle’s eleventh country. Group headquarters are also expanded to accommodate 1,000 employees. Vision 2020 sets the course for Bechtle’s future, aiming to achieve 5 billion euros in revenues and 10,000 employees. In 2009, however, Bechtle’s revenues amount to 1.38 billion euros and its workforce totals 4,354 employees.
CCI business forum.
2009 Executive Board.
Bechtle celebrates its 25th anniversary and continues its success story with another record-setting year. While the systems integrator business enters the Austrian market, the e-commerce segment expands into Ireland through Bechtle direct, which is now represented in ten countries. Founder and long-time Executive Board chairman Ralf Klenk steps down after 25 years at the helm. Revenues rise to 1.43 billion euros and staff increases to 4,405 employees.
ChannelPartner Award: Best System House.
Expansion of Neckarsulm headquarters.
Four acquisitions in as many countries reinforce both Bechtle’s systems integration and e-commerce segments. The Group’s ARP brand continues to expand internationally, establishing a new online shop for France, while subsidiary Comsoft direct leads Bechtle further into the software licensing market. The Executive Board raises its earnings guidance three times—a testament to Bechtle’s profitability. Revenues advance by more than 13 percent to 1.38 billion euros and pre-tax earnings gain 29 percent to 59 million euros. Bechtle’s workforce continues to grow as well, numbering 4,250 employees.
Bechtle moves into its new headquarters in Neckarsulm, located at the eponymous address Bechtle Platz 1. The Group’s share is also taken up in the German technology index TecDAX. Bechtle takes over Swiss-based ARP Datacon Group—one of Europe’s largest IT e-commerce providers—marking the start of a multi-brand e-commerce strategy. In addition, Bechtle direkt ÖA is established to cater exclusively to public-sector customers. Ralf Klenk takes over as Chairman of the Executive Board while Gerhard Schick becomes Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Bechtle reaches a significant milestone, surpassing 1 billion euros in revenues through the dedication of its 3,178 employees.
Sign at Bechtle Platz 1.
Executive Board standing in the foyer.
Family & Friends Day.
Bechtle AG launches its initial public offering on 30 March at an issue price of 27 euros. Demand for the new share greatly exceeds supply and the Bechtle share oversubscribes twelve-fold. This injection of capital is put to good use expanding the Group into France and Belgium while also establishing an additional location in Dresden and acquiring five further system houses. Thus strengthened, the Group boasts 30 locations, 1,680 employees and revenues of approximately 955,000,000 German marks.
Bear and bull figurines.
Bechtle newspaper advertisement.
With the addition of another five offices, Bechtle is now represented in 18 locations across Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony. The Group establishes its own installation centre, and Bechtle direkt also founds a subsidiary in the UK. The investment firm BWK GmbH acquires an interest in Bechtle and remains Bechtle’s second largest shareholder to this day. Revenues total some 250,000,000 German marks, generated by 510 employees.
The number of Bechtle locations increases to 13, extending the Group’s broad coverage to Saxony and neighbouring parts of Thuringia. Bechtle also breaks into the ranks of Germany’s top five IT system houses. For the first time ever, it takes its commerce business across national borders, founding Bechtle direkt AG in Switzerland and doubling its staff to 320. Revenues continue their upward trajectory, reaching 170,000,000 German marks.
New location in Freiburg. (Ralf Klenk and Rainer Weyh)
The same year Amazon and eBay are founded in the US, Bechtle launches its website, www.bechtle.de, making the Group a pioneer in the e-commerce market. Once again, Bechtle grows rapidly, acquiring Pazdera Computer in Karlsruhe and thereby enabling extensive market coverage in northern Baden-Württemberg. Another location, this time in Leipzig, is also added. These new locations bear fruit immediately, driving a three-fold increase in revenues to some 115,200,000 German marks within a single year and boosting staff numbers to 150.
Bechtle is online.
Catalogue issued by Pazdera Computer, a Bechtle Group company.
Karlsruhe IT System House.
Following the bankruptcies of two competitors, Bechtle seizes the opportunity to expand further by opening two offices outside Baden-Württemberg. On 1 January, nine former employees of the IBM systems integrator Computer Martin join Bechtle GmbH EDV-Zentrum in Würzburg. In July, Software Direkt (Maier + Partner) in Chemnitz is added to the fold, representing another stone in Bechtle’s foundation for a Germany-wide network of IT system houses. The Vision, published in 1988, aims to achieve 100 million German marks and launch an IPO by the turn of the millennium. For the time being, however, Bechtle revenues continue to grow apace, totalling approximately 33,850,000 German marks. Its staff at the time numbers 100 people.
Würzburg employees in 1993.
Decal for the new office in Chemnitz.
Chemnitz System House.
In late 1991, Bechtle’s first catalogue—consisting of 32 black-and-white pages—paves the way for the company’s commerce brand, Bechtle direkt, to cross regional borders. Its systems integrator business focuses on network communications, technical solutions and training, with technical services becoming increasingly important. Now employing 85 people, Bechtle is among southern Germany’s largest systems integrators. Although the hardware market is subject to dramatic price wars, Bechtle’s revenues continue to grow, reaching 23,342,000 German marks.
Cover of the first Bechtle catalogue.
A 1990s training room.
Pile of floppy disks.
By 1989, Bechtle has established itself as the market leader in its region. It moves into a new office building at Europaplatz, doubling its office space to more than 1,300 m². For the third time in a row, Bechtle is recognised as Quality Dealer of the Year by IBM—the last time the title is awarded. Through the hard work of its 37 employees, Bechtle’s revenues surge by more than 50 percent to roughly 13,015,000 German marks.
Bechtle’s office at Europaplatz in Heilbronn, 1989.
Company vehicle advertising Bechtle.
A 1980s office.
In January, Bechtle becomes a certified IBM distributor and moves into 180 m² of new office space. Its staff now totals six people, including Bechtle’s first vocational trainee. Business is humming along, with revenues climbing to some 2,245,000 German marks.
A 1980s office.
IBM products sold by Bechtle in 1985.
Office equipment of a bygone era.
On 21 July 1983, Bechtle GmbH EDV-Technik is founded as a microbusiness by Professor Klaus von Jan, Ralf Klenk and Gerhard Schick. Operating out of a 70 m² commercial building in the centre of Heilbronn, it focuses on programming and marketing technical calculation software while also selling Apple, BASIS and Victor Sirius computers. In its first abbreviated fiscal year, the fledgling company earns 66,000 German marks.
Ralf Klenk consulting with an employee.
Bechtle floppy disk.
One of Bechtle’s first invoices.