Case Group Plc, the Watford-based data communications equipment company yesterday reannounced its new local area networking division first announced in January (CI No 855) with the launch of a new division and products which it hopes will carry it through its financial difficulties. General manager for the Local Area Network division Paul Gigg said that he expected the launch to develop into a UKP10m business over the next three years, earning 10% of company revenue. Called the Series 6000, the local network products are based on Open Systems Interconnection protocols and the company hopes eventually to integrate them with its existing data communications range. Case has signed a world wide OEM agreement with the Danish developers of the technology, Dataco A/S. The product is available in the UK now and will be rolled out across Europe during the year. The company, which is expected to report a return to profit for its financial year just ended, has been looking increasingly vulnerable over the past two years of red ink and speculation that Canadian rival Gandalf is preparing a hostile bid heightened when it upped its stake in Case to 10% last week. Rigg commented that the launch, which has come at the appropriate moment, will help fend off unwelcome overtures by the likes of Gandalf. Case is becoming increasingly product rich despite the financial problems and now has an X25 packet switch as well as a local network line. Gandalf has not he said. The 6000 series will be available in three media: Ethernet immediately, with fibre-optic and twisted pair options following later this year. A raft of bridges, routers and interface cards will be offered to enable any terminal to access any host on the same physical network. Case is aiming the local network range at the larger business customer with a turnover above UKP30m on the assumption that such customers will have a variety of host machines to take advantage of the open network environment: the Hertfordshire police force has been the first customer to sign up. Case has already dabbled in local networks with its Grapevine product, which sends integrated voice and data over telephone wire and PABXs. Grapevine has been on the market for five and years will continue to be marketed by the modems division. The company made its name on the back of its DCX muliplexor which is still the biggest single earner for Case although its importance will diminish as the digitalisation of communications shrinks the modem and multiplexor market.