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By | Paul Kunert 30th April 2013 14:27

Credit safety net ripped from under elder IT distie Northamber

Sliding trade at Surrey-based wholesaler fingered

QBE Insurance has removed entire lines of trade credit insurance on Surrey-based distributor Northamber, The Channel can reveal.

Declining trade at one of the oldest wholesalers of IT gear in Blighty is understood to be the reason behind indemnifier QBE's decision, say our sources.

Disties Computers Unlimited (Janson Group) and Enta Technologies are among the firms understood to have used credit insurance from QBE when dealing with Northamber.

Credit insurance is designed to act as a safety net for suppliers so that some of their debts will be covered should the companies they trade with go under.

There is no suggestion Northamber is about to fall - it is financially secure and it carries no debts - but chairman David Phillips has presided over a decade of decline in annual sales from £299m in 2001 to £101m in fiscal 2012.

The trajectory for fiscal 2013, which ends in June, has not improved: sales for the six months to 31 December were £41.5m, down from £53.8m in the same period a year earlier. And it reported losses of £271,000 in H1 2013, compared to losses of £418,000 in the previous year.

In recent years Northamber has split with Microsoft, Lenovo, Cisco and Toshiba. This year so far has parted with IBM and Kingston Technology, and it was given marching orders by Fujitsu.

Rival indemnifier Atradius has not insured the distributor for some years, say our sources.

QBE Insurance refused to comment and Northamber did not respond to a call for comment. ®

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