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BREAKNECK GROWTH SLOWS AT NORSK DATA

Rolf Skor, president of Norsk Data A/S, introduced the company’s preliminary results for year to December 31 1986 with an I told you so message. Sales were up 37% at UKP240m and pre-tax profits were up 29% at UKP44m. Over the last 14 years, since Norsk’s inception, the company has enjoyed annual sales and profits growth rates of between 35% and 40% but the lower end of the range has fallen to 25% this year – as Skor forecast at the time of Norsk’s interim figures in September (CI No 510). This is reflected in the fact that Norsk recruited 800 employees during 1986, some 200 fewer than in previous years; the company now employs 3,600 staff worldwide. Revenue growth was split evenly between Norway and the rest of the world. Turnover declined in the company’s US operations but Skor looks for the new marketing agreement with Mycro-Tek Inc to improve this situation; revenues in excess of $30m are expected for Norsk Data over an initial three-year period from the deal (CI No 592). Norsk’s growth in Sweden, France and Germany was between 30% and 50%. In Germany sales were lower than anticipated because the company failed to complete contracts expected in December. Sales in France, traditionally a strong technical and scientific market for Norsk, declined over the last three months of the year due to a leak of information concerning the launch of the top-of-the-range ND-5000 family (CI No 607); companies were waiting for the new machines rather than order the existing range. The UK subsidiary reports its most successful year since its launch in 1981 with a 50% growth rate: it is also the first subsidiary outside Norway to develop any Norsk Data product – it designed the Butterfly desk-top system that combines an ND110 CPU with an Ericsson IBM Personalike. The figures for 1986 also included two Scandinavian acquisitions: Norwegian software house Infologic, now 100% owned by Norsk Data; and Danish company Datainform, controlled by Norsk Data through a shareholders’ agreement. The consolidation of these two companies added UKP10.14m to the 1986 revenues. Norsk anticipates that 1987 will be a transition year while customers accept new hardware and contracts and acquisitions with other companies come to fruition. The company will be investing about 15% of revenues into development of the company and is still looking for more partners in Europe. Norsk Data wants to maintain complete software control over its products, seeing itself as a solutions provider, and so will continue to major on its own proprietary operating system, Sintran, but also intends to support anything that is deemed to be a standard, including Unix.

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CBR Staff Writer

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