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December 8, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Camberley, Surrey-based cellular phone manufacturer Technophone Ltd has bought 79.4% of its sole UK distributor Excell Communications Ltd for just under UKP500,000 – and the deal appears to rank as one of the bargains of the year. In just three years, Excell has become one of the country’s leading cellular distributors with turnover for the year to March 1988 expected to be close to UKP16m. In the 12 months to December 1986, Excell had pre-tax profits of UKP300,000 on a turnover of UKP5m and, according to Technophone’s financial director, Ron Graham, has remained profitable throughout its rapid expansion. Graham was not prepared yesterday to explain why Excell’s Swiss holding company had agreed to sell up for such a low price. But he strongly refuted suggestions that Technophone had threatened to withdraw Excell’s licence to its M2 pocket phone if the sale had not gone ahead. The M2 is said to be the smallest, lightest and most intelligent cellphone in the world. Sales have been running at a level of 2,500 a month. To meet demand, Technophone is in the process of commissioning a second manufacturing plant. The new base, in Australia, will supply the local market. Technophone has also set up a US subsidiary to meet demand over there. Including Excell, Graham is forecasting group turnover of UKP35m for the year to March 1988. A public listing is unlikely until the company has at least celebrated its fifth birthday in late 1989 – but it has something else to celebrate in the meantime: it has won the 1987 Sunday Times-Arthur Andersen Venture Backed Capital Award as the most exciting venture business in the UK.

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