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October 29, 1991

ACORN TURNS IN MID-TERM LOSS, BUT RECKONS THAT THE WORST IS OVER AFTER BETTER SUMMER

By CBR Staff Writer

We’re over the worst. So says Acorn Computer Group Plc, holding its head high at the interim stage of its 1991 financial year, though pre-tax losses amounted to UKP420,000, against a profit of UKP42,000 for the same period last year. Sales dropped 19% to UKP18m, which the Cambridge, UK-based company puts down to a fall in government spending on education, previously Acorn’s redeeming market. Despite the reduced sales, however, significantly improved gross margins and lower operating expenses brought about a trading profit, albeit down 67% at UKP118,000. A month ago (CI No 1,769), Acorn unveiled its latest Archimedes 32-bit RISC computer, the A5000, and the upgraded RISC OS3 operating system, aimed at desktop publishing and multimedia applications, which the Ing C Olivetti & Co affiliate holds up as exemplifying its ongoing commitment to new product development. Advanced RISC Machines Ltd, or ARM, set up last year in alliance with Apple Computer Inc and VLSI Technology Inc to build products based on Acorn’s RISC chip, is said to be making good progress, the new Australian and New Zealand subsidiaries now earning their keep and showing a substantial increase in sales over the last year. Acorn’s managing director, Sam Wauchope, says sales during the summer months were stronger than in previous years – a glimmer of hope in a still-floundering market. The company’s net debt at the last year-end was up to UKP9.7m due to the build-up of stock during 1990 but there’s no word on the situation so far this year.

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