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March 7, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:40pm

ACORN COMES OUT OF A YEAR OF UPHEAVAL

By CBR Staff Writer

1996 was a year of transition and repositioning for Acorn Computer Group Plc, but the effort appears to have started paying off with reductions in losses and prospects for further improvements this year. Acorn saw losses of 6.3m pounds, down from 12m pounds last time on revenue down 21% at 30m pounds. The Ing C Olivetti SpA affiliate claims to have repositioned itself as a worldwide technology developer and licensor. Last year it signed an agreement with Oracle Corp for the development and licensing of a range of Network Computer reference designs (CI No 2,828) and it established a Network Computing Division to manage the Oracle alliance. The company says this, along with the transfer of its schools business to its Apple Computer Inc joint venture Xemplar Education Ltd (CI No 2,851), cost reductions and an upturn in Acorn RISC Technologies licensing activities, has led to the improved operating performance in the year. Associate Advanced RISC Machines Holdings Ltd also had a year of strong growth, with revenue up 73% to 16.7m pounds and pre-tax profit up 40% to 3.7m pounds. The company changed its accounting policy in January 1996 to recognize income from the sale of its technology licenses. Acorn attributes the fall in its revenue to the transfer of its schools business to the Xemplar venture in April – Xemplar revenue is not included with the group’s as it is accounted for as an associate. The transfer of the schools business also contributed to a reduction in costs, as did the company’s cost reducing actions. During the second half, the group closed its Australian subsidiary, but says it continues to trade there via a local distributor. Acorn RISC Techologies saw an increasing level of interest in its Internet appliance market, and the use of RISC microprocessors for consumer products, but Acorn Online Media, which markets digital settop boxes had a disappointing year due to lack of interest in interactive television. However, it says it is well placed to exploit its technology in the Internet market. Acorn will pay no dividend.

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