At the interim stage, office equipment company Gestetner Plc, based in London W1, saw pre-tax profit up 33% to UKP21.5m on turnover up 83% to UKP398m. Gestetner has two main operating divisions: office products and photographic. Office products is made up of the original Gestetner business and the Nashua Office Systems business which was acquired in April (CI No 1,399). Over the six months sales in this division grew organically by 16%, while sales as a whole, including those from Nashua, grew 25%. Nashua and Gestetner both operate in the same 14 countries and so 400 jobs are to go in administration and warehouse operations (however, no jobs will go from sales or support). Over the rest of the year Gestetner will merge its business with Nashua and the combined businesses are expected to make a significant impact in 1991. Within this division Europe, Latin America, Africa and South East Asia are markets that are prospering, while the US is not yielding expected growth and Australia is struggling to make a profit. On the other hand, the Photographic Division (which is composed of the Hanimex acquisition) is suffering from downturns in the UK and Australian markets, but is performing satisfactorily in the US. However, company chairman Basil Sellers believes that all these market ups and downs are cyclical and that the results of any one country are unlikely to impact the whole group significantly, but he warned that if the US businesses did not find margins of 8% it may no longer have a place in the group. European Community countries, other than the UK, produces UKP162m in sales, followed by the Americas with UKP95m and Africa, Asia and Australasia with UKP82.5m. Although the UK is one of the smallest geographical contributors of revenues, it is the most profitable, producing UKP4.2m in profits from a turnover of UKP39.5m. Pursuing acquisitions has affected Gestetner’s gearing. It now has a debt level of UKP90m and a 30% debt to equity ratio. Consequently, any further acquisitions are unlikely in the near future. As for the future, Gestetner sees marketing initiatives driving sales growth and profitablity rather than margin improvements. Aside from new products such as the copyprinter and laser printers, Gestetner is also evaluating its sales approach and is exploring the possibility of bundling service with the price of each machine.