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Amstrad Plc – it appears to have dropped the Consumer Electronics – yesterday turned in first half pre-tax profits up 160% at UKP71.3m, topping the forecasts of all but the superbulls of the company, Chase Manhattan Securities, who just about hit it on the button, having gone for UKP70m. Amstrad points out that there is an enormous amount still to go for, since the PC1512 Personalike accounted for only 25% of the UKP272.5m total sales, putting that business alone at just shy of UKP70m. Equally happy is the news on the Sinclair acquisition front – 300,000 ZXs were sold during the period, not bad for a machine widely written off as moribund before it re-emerged in Amstrad colours. The company says that the PCW8256 was so little impacted by launch of the Personalike that it is definitely going ahead with its plan to add new models to the family. One thing there won’t be, though, is a cheapo cellular telephone – We’ll do that when pigs fly, Alan Sugar told the London Evening Standard. Most analysts are frantically redoing their sums for the second half, and staring at the stratospheric figures on their calculators in disbelief – but Amstrad should leave the current average forecast of UKP125m or so for the year comfortably behind.

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