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May 24, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Domino Printing Sciences Plc, the Cambridge, UK-based manufacturer of inkjet printers for marking such luminaries as Coca-Cola Co and Philips Electronics NV, has reported record half-year figures and predicts a rosy future with a bumper second half order book. Pre-tax profits for the half-year ended April 30, rose 46% to ?5.4m, on turnover up 10% to ?41.4m. However sales growth was not consistent across the board, and while the Americas posted a very encouraging spurt of 49%, mainland Europe fell back by 10%. Roger Dye, Domino’s finance director, blames this on macroeconomic factors and not the failure of company policy, and cites, as an example, the successful turnaround of the business in Germany, which grew by 23% in the half, since selling the distributing rights to its Swiss distributor. The villain of the European figures was Italy, and Dye believes that the country’s recent elections had dampened investment, similar to Spain and the UK during their elections, and orders were now returning. The UK grew by a modest 2%, while sales in the rest of the world jumped 22%. Domino also expanded on its recent shift into the field of laser printing. Earlier this month, the company announced a conditional agreement to acquire assets, personnel and intellectual property rights of Directed Energy Inc, US developer of digital laser technology, for $7m (CI No 2,413), and also a licence agreement with United Distillers and SLS Ltd for jointly development of a high definition scribing laser. The scribing laser has one movable laser beam and is ideal for the kanji of the Japanese and Chinese markets, and the company is so confident of growth that it has gone against normal policy and appointed a second distibutor in China. These investments in innovative laser technology are an assault on cumbersome mask-laser printers, and Dye expects laser printers to become 15% of Domino’s current total business, a viable alternative to three-shift basis printing and ideal for markets where solvent inks are not possible. The digital laser heads will be produced in California, and the printers, including Domino’s software, will be assembled in Domino’s Chicago plant. As to further acquisitions, Dye was adamant that the cash-rich company, with net cash balances of ?18.3m, will continue to invest wisely, some might say cautiously and will avoid any rush or panic in placing the money as there is not a great track record for laser printers. Expectation of good results drove Domino shares, which will pay a 3 pence dividend, up 19p on Friday, the confirmation added another 28p on Monday to reach 518p.

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