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March 1, 1994

ADMIRAL ACHIEVES 17% UPLIFT FOR THE FULL YEAR, MAINLY FROM ONGOING UNITS

By CBR Staff Writer

Admiral Plc continued on its growth phase this year, posting increased profits and turnover for the 12 months ending December 31. The Camberley, Surrey-based firm, which deals in computer services and training, reported net profits up 16.6% at UKP3.1m, on turnover that increased 18.7% to UKP36.7m. The traditionally conservative company has been living the wild life recently, spending UKP1.3m in cash at the start of 1994 for Training Centres Ltd, a generic personal computer applications training firm. This new subsidiary is now part of the group’s existing bespoke training firm, which in turn sits alongside two subsidiaries in Singapore and Australia, a computer service firm and a management service company. Training Centres Ltd has 55 training centres and has signed a contract with Admiral’s customer of 13 years, Barclays Bank Plc. Admiral, which had UKP5.3m in the bank just before the acquisition went through, would have been prompted into action by lower interest rates on its cash, which reduced interest receivables by 42.5% to UKP260,000 in the year. The group’s 51%-owned subisdiary in Singapore continued to perform poorly in the second half, not quite breaking even. Clay Brendish, chairman of the group, put this down to contracts running over the end of the year which adversely affected figures. A return to profit is expected next period. The Austrialian subsidiary has also suffered from what he describes as a lack of criticial mass, and a regional manager has been appointed. The company does not plan a change in the management formula for either subsidiary, however. Brendish’s predictions of European expansion made last half (CI No 2,244) has yet to come to fruition although the firm is currently in talks with a number of European firms in an attempt to form a partnership. Other than slightly broader, smugger smiles on the directors’ faces, little else has changed; around 80% of business still comes from existing customers, while client-server still comprises roughly 18% of group turnover. Brendish said that most new contracts are client-server-based, though, indicating that the latter figure could increase next period. Market sector breakdowns show defense comprising 26% of revenue, finance 29%, industry and commerce 28%, leaving 17% for government work, where the company is helping in-house bids on market-testing contracts. The board did authorise a 16.7% dividend increase to 6.3 pence. The question is, how long will the board wait before it moves onto the continent and takes some of its eggs out of the basket?

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