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December 15, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Active Technologies Plc, a Harrow, Middlesex company, has set up a joint venture with four Polish enterprises, initially to supply micros to the Polish computer literacy project. The venture, Digital Laboratories International, is believed to be the first Anglo-Polish company for at least 50 years. It expects to deliver 22,000 units for the project over the next 18 months. To start with these will all be finished products but Digital Labs has plans to assemble components and, eventually, to manufacture in Poland for local, Soviet and Third World educational markets. Active Technologies’ founder Martin Vlieland-Boddy, who also started Torch Computers Ltd, says that Digital Labs is still looking for a supplier for the computers. Acorn Computers Plc was approached, but, according to Vlieland-Boddy, the Olivetti affiliate is pricing itself out of contention. The Polish partners in Digital Labs include two electronics companies – Unimor and Eltra – and Labcomp, a Warsaw based software co-operative. But because of the Comecon countries’ need for hard currency, the joint venture is not restricted to the electronics sector. Manufacture of glass sun-roofs, medical equipment, and leather and wood goods together with the opening of a shooting and fishing Chateau have joined the development of computer software, computer monitors, telephones and a range of hi-fi equipment as projects deemed worthy of Digital Labs’s future consideration. For Active Technologies, quoted on the London Over-The-Counter market, the venture is the culmination of two year’s work. At present, despite having Vlieland-Boddy as managing director and former Sperry UK marketing director John Pascoe as chairman, Active’s main source of revenue is Visions, a leather goods and souvenir distributor. The Anglo-Polish joint venture forecasts UKP15m sales in its first 18 months.

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