Compsoft Holdings Plc, Godalming, Surrey, the parent company of MS-DOS software and services company Compsoft Delta Ltd, which launched a relational database version of its Delta database management system last week (CI No 913), is aiming to diversify rapidly from its roots following acquisition of transport and distribution consultants Wootton Jeffreys – and plans to make another niche market acquisition sometime this year. Geoff Bristow, Compsoft Holdings chairman and chief executive installed by Octogon Industries when it took a 29.9% stake in Compsoft last autumn (CI No 772), says the company’s strategy for turning Compsoft into the next Logica is to acquire specialist companies and then to develop software solutions harnessing the companies’ niche market expertise and Compsoft’s software development skills (CI No 888). Through its acquisition of Wootton Jeffreys, Compsoft has gained a foothold into the engineering consultancy sector, and Brookwood-based Wootton also has a turnkey minicomputer systems arm. Compsoft Delta Compsoft employs 35 staff at its head office, including three programmers and a technical director, six sales and marketing staff, three support engineers and two full time consultants from the old Compsoft, now Compsoft Delta. Delta managing director Peter Salkeld says by the end of this year the company intends to increase contributions to turnover by its training, consultancy, conferencing and other services to around 50% of the subsidiary’s turnover. He is trying to sweep aside the view that Compsoft is essentially a one-product company whose success has been based on the Delta database, which the company claims to have sold to 40,000 users worldwide. The launch of an MS-DOS data analysis and consolidation system, Debut, priced at UKP2,500, and the long-aborning Domino micro-based training system for training managers and course developers, are part of this strategy which also aims to establish the company as a provider of services. After flirting with the budget software market even contemplating a merger with low cost accounting software house Sagesoft Ltd – Compsoft now says that it is again repositioning itself firmly in the mid-range price bracket in the micro software market and intends to offer high value products with an emphasis on training, support and consultancy. Compsoft remains cautious about overseas expansion following the failure of earlier operations but Salkeld says that discussions are underway with a US distributor interested in setting up a third party sales channel for the company’s products, and Compsoft retains distributors on the continent including France and Germany. Compsoft was set up in 1979 and went public in 1984. Octagon took control in September, with a commitment to Compsoft into one of the UK’s largest software and services companies by organic growth and acquisition. Other major shareholders are co founders Nick Horgan and Heather Kearsley who have a 14.5% stake and the Prudential which has a 10.5% holding. Another 19% is out on the Unlisted Securities Market but Octogan has options on 10% more. For the nine months to December 1987 Compsoft saw a UKP800,000 loss on turnover of UKP1.2m against a loss of UKP571,000 on UKP2.2m turnover for the year to March 1987. Compsoft is now on a calendar fiscal year.
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