M-R Group Plc, originally Microfilm Reprographics, is still reorganizing and redefining itself away from microfilm and even microfiche, but is seeing progress following restructuring and is on the acquisition trail again. The London-based company saw profits continue to rise slowly in the half year to December, when pre-tax profits were up 8.3% at 2.4m pounds on revenue down just a touch at 18.5m pounds. The company saw the writing on the wall for microfilm as long ago as 1991, when it bought Memex Information Holdings Ltd to take it into the text retrieval market. Unfortunately, Memex had financial difficulties of its own, and although its Textract product sells to the police market, the company edged out of the red for the first time only in this half year, and now that M-R has decided to sell it (CI No 3,002). Chairman and chief executive Colin Haylock says the company is still looking to dispose of Memex eventually, but as it goes from strength to strength it will be a better proposition to sell. In August, M-R ventured into the document management arena, buying a small document management consultancy with an impressive customer list, Kalexis Ltd (CI No 2,979). One of the company’s most promising business areas is facilities management, it says. In August last year it started a three-year contract to provide managed electronic printing services to insurance firm General Accident Plc, and says it is now discussing extensions to this service. Haylock says the company sees facilities management of document services as a major growth area. He says many major companies see document management and printing as peripheral to their core activities, and are happy to have the service managed by a third party. M-R’s first customer for its new digital document delivery software, which combines COLD Computer Output to Laser Disk and document imaging is British Airways Plc, and the company says it is in discussions with a number of new prospects. M-R is really focusing itself on facilities management and services, and has established a systems integration division. It is about to form a joint venture company with German product developer Ina Bearings AG, to market and distribute COI Workflow, a system Ina developed in house and has sold to some 200 companies in Germany. M-R hopes to sell its document services on the back of COI workflow in the UK and the US. The company’s US business is not quite as successful as it would like, but Haylock says laser printing services are big in the US, and it has seen its Atlanta-based business grow to $1.2m from $200,000, although it must achieve $2m before it is viable. The restructuring that has been under way since Haylock took the reins some 18 months ago has succeeded in reducing costs, and enabled the company to get rid of some of its property. Microfiche today represents less than 30% of the company’s overall business, but is declining at some 6% to 8% a year. Haylock says the company can now offer a full range of digital alternatives including CD-ROM and COLD. M-R will pay an unchanged interim of 1.2 pence.