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  1. Technology
September 17, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

Gloucester-based Sherwood Computer Services Plc has reported mid-term pre-tax profits of UKP850,000, up 47% on the same period for 1989, on turnover flat at UKP12m. The company has been focusing on the financial services market, including the London Insurance market, and the public sector, with marketing strategy involving substantial investment in the development of open systems products and their introduction into these markets. This, in turn, has created demand for Sherwood’s support services which are marketed as Bridgehead – which encompasses software development and operating tools; Connections – a specialist communications and networking service; and Partnership – the company’s long term facilities management and bureau services and a source of recurr-ing income. Sherwood’s Sceptre system is reported to be doing well, bringing the company some new clients and strengthening its position in the Lloyd’s insurance market, where its aim is to increase market share to more than 40% – in this market Sherwood’s competition comes from small private companies such as EPG and Box IT, although being mainly based in AS/400 systems these aren’t seen to pose a serious threat. Chairman Trevor Entwistle says too that substantial interest has been shown in Senator, the company’s new administration system for the international insurance market. In the public sector, Sherwood has established commitment to Threshold, its local government housing product which is also the subject of a marketing agreement with ICL. The recent purchase of certain assets and contracts from the receivers of Wootton Jeffreys Plc (CI No 1,485) provides Sherwood with a presence in the central government computer services market to complement its established activities in the local government sector. This purchase will now be assimliated into the group, as will 35 former employees of Wootton Jeffries. While Sherwood is pursuing organic growth in its existing business it will, according to Entwistle, continue to seek further appropriate acquisitions to extend the Sherwood product range and penetrate the market further. In June, the Dutch World Software Group BV acquired a total of 1.768m preference shares in Sherwood principally from funds associated with British & Commonwealth Plc (CI No 1,451). Subsequently, World Software purchased 83,000 ordinary shares in the company. Assuming full conversion of the issued preference shares, World Software would be interested in 18.9% of Sherwood’s enlarged issued ordinary share capital. As a result of the disposal of preference shares by the funds associated with the crashed British & Commonwealth, Mr J Monteith resigned from the board on July 6. The board has declared an interim dividend of 1.50 pence per ordinary share, payable on November 5, to ordinary shareholders on the register at October 4. This dividend is double that paid last year to reduce the disparity between the interim and final dividends paid in respect of 1989. The board anticipates that Sherwood’s investment in new products and services will begin to show in the sales figures for the year end – research and development will continue at the same rate for the next half.

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