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August 10, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Sydney Development Corp has completed the UKP2.9m acquisition of UK communications software specialist LDR Systems, bringing the British ownership of the combined company, called Sydney LDR, up to nearly 40%. Sydney is Canadian and quoted on the Vancouver stock exchange, although managing director of the UK operation Tony Blyth says that without buying LDR, two thirds of the company’s business now comes from Europe, a reversal of its position two years ago. Sydney has inherited from LDR a partly developed second X400 system, called Pan 400, written in Pascal, to add to its own Messenger 400, written in C. Parts of Pan 400 are being trialled with the Swift banking network. The companies aim to integrate the two systems and the Swift banking network for settlement of financial transactions will be the test site for an integrated system. It has also acquired the Aldershot company’s X25 to SNA products and its ambitious ISOnet kernel product, on which it built its name, which represented the UK’s first shot at an OSI seven-layer product, although this was as far back as 1984, when the OSI standards had only been ratified to level four. LDR’s margins in 1986 were UKP200,000 on turnover of UKP1.8m. This year the combined companies aim for turnover of some UKP10m and hopes to be profitable with around 180 staff. It sees its biggest growth coming when public telephone authorities worldwide start up public X400 services as British Telecom did in May, which will automatically create a much bigger market for X400 links, and bigger contracts for Sydney LDR. Sydney Development worked with Telecom on its Gold 400 service. LDR says it is happy to be part of Sydney, having fought off a number of other bidders, including Case, which has just bought 30% of TSL in Woking. LDR’s primary interest was to find a channel for its products in the North America. This is where most of its competition has come from to date, including companies such as San Jose MAP and X400 specialist Retix, whose UK agent is CAP and Touch Communications of California, which does OSI software for the IBM Personal. A spokesman from LDR says it has seen little competition from the UK until now, but more from continental European specialists such as Thomson’s TITN unit, strong on X25, Marben of France which distributes its Open Systems software products in the US through Omicron and Danet, partly owned by the Deutsche Bundespost, which is strong on X400. Sydney LDR is now divided into three divisions – communications software, made up of the two companies’ existing communications sales staff; information systems comprising Sydney’s end user communications products; and a manufacturing software division. The Canadian company offers the sales and marketing backbone it needs. With its European development centre, Sydney gets the back-up to support the orders it claims to be getting. We will move on the investment, says Blyth. We aim to concentrate efforts on applications software for the end user market as well as seeking out further OEM contracts, which have been our bread and butter market until now.

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