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Westcon-Comstor Brexit statement and FAQs

Updated 2 October 2020

On 31 December 2020, the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union will change. Whilst there is still some uncertainty as to the outcome of the UK’s exit from the EU, we believe that our preparations to date, the geographic footprint of Westcon-Comstor in the EU including the presence of major logistics hubs in both the Netherlands and the UK, and our reliance on a single SAP-based operational system equips us well to deal with the potential outcomes.

We have undertaken extensive planning and implemented those changes to our business structure and supporting systems necessary at this time. However, given the current uncertainty, it may be necessary to implement further specific measures in the near future. As the circumstances progress, we will, where relevant, monitor those customer orders which may be impacted at the time of Brexit, and will address any issues accordingly and as promptly as possible.


1. How has Westcon-Comstor prepared for a ‘no deal’ Brexit?

Over the last 18 months, we have prepared ourselves for various possible outcomes of the Brexit negotiations, considering all areas that are likely to be impacted.

As part of our preparations, a new legal entity and supporting IT systems were established in the Netherlands in October 2019. This structure has since been fully utilised, enabling us to optimise our supply chain in Europe for export destinations and instigating a dual export licensing regime with the utilisation of Dutch export licenses. The practical impact is that we have the same export capabilities in both the UK and the Netherlands.


2. Is your stock delivered from a warehouse in the UK?

We can fulfil stock from both the UK and the Netherlands.


3. Can you deliver if there was a change in the UK border custom arrangements or a change in the customs tariffs between UK and the EU?

We believe we are advantageously placed having established our two European warehouse locations in the UK and the Netherlands. We are pro-actively balancing stock between the two warehouses and ensuring we have supply chains into both facilities. We currently believe that our only material exposure could be at the border between the UK and EU, at this point we expect direct shipments into each territory to be possible albeit potentially delayed.


4. Do you expect delays in delivery of inventory or issues with product availability?

We will continue to balance and/or pre-order in both locations to sensibly fulfil demand.


5. Are you building up a buffer stock in anticipation of increased lead times and congestion at the border in the period up to and after Brexit?

We continue to monitor manufacturing lead-times to ensure they are up to date. Carrier lead-times are also reviewed by the logistics and purchasing teams which ensure we are anticipating inbound supply times. If necessary, we will adapt our inventory planning based on anticipated demand and lead times.


6. Does Westcon-Comstor expect to see increased duty rates in case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit?

We have conducted a review of our imports under WTO rules and predict there would be no additional duty rate demand.


7. Does Westcon-Comstor have the necessary customs registrations, resources, experience and ability to maintain a smooth import process?

We have established all the necessary registrations and have the necessary systems in place to support documentation requirements. Furthermore, we have trained resources in-house and with our freight partners and data, necessary to maintain efficient importations.


8. What happens if there is a change in the value of sterling?

As an established international distributor, we have a robust treasury function able to respond, manage and, where appropriate, hedge our exposures. We anticipate that we will have to re-price some quotes for foreign exchange volatility just as we do today in many emerging markets.


9. Will there be an impact on employees or labour availability?

Westcon-Comstor employs approximately 500 staff in the UK and 1,000 staff in mainland Europe across all functions. We have citizens of both jurisdictions working across territories but expect each group to be afforded reciprocal protection. Future movements may be impacted, and we will make appropriate arrangements to ensure continuity of customer service levels as required.


For further information, please contact your Westcon-Comstor representative.