CRT Group Plc, a UK-based educational training and recruitment company, is responding well to its change at the top. The firm was purchased last year by Education Technology LLC, an investment vehicle belonging to Oracle Corp chairman, Larry Ellison and his controversial business partner Michael Milken, the former junk-bond financier who spent time in prison. Net profits for the six months to September 30 rose by 96% to 4.3m pounds on revenue that rose 115% to 119.3m pounds. Organic growth from continuing operations has doubled since last year, while businesses purchased in the half contributed a further 9.5m pounds of revenues. CRT comprises an IT Services Division and a General Services Division, but IT services currently produce 90% of operating profits on a 75% share of revenue. The group has made five acquisitions over the last year, costing it around 65m pounds in cash, and the two acquisitions in the first half, SDA (IT consultants) and Intertech (IT recruiters) cost 28m pounds, mostly in cash. Both, however are profitable and the exceptional costs of integration were kept to 400,000 pounds. The funds behind such a busy shopping spree have come via Ellison, who pumped 109m pounds into CRT back in the middle of last year (CI No 2,971). Ellison is also a non-executive director of CRT. The relentless pace of acquisitions has left the company with a mixed bag of brands and corporate logos which are to be rationalized in 1998 under a new group-wide name. The group still has 50m pounds in cash and it’s on a mission to build CRT into a global human resources empire many times the size of CRT today said chairman Steven Fink. Fink is expecting the pattern of earnings to mirror previous years with a much stronger second half, and the shares rose 3.5% to 355 pence. The interim dividend has been increased by 2.5% to 1.025 pence per share.
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