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EUROPEAN SIBLINGS LET IBM UK DOWN: DOMESTIC SALES GROW 13%, EXPORTS SLUMP

IBM UK has put an end to the guesstimates of its 1986 performance by announcing its results ahead of its normal schedule, but still some three weeks after the worldwide and French operations revealed their dismal figures. The UK figures appear similarly awful on the surface – net profits down 15% at UKP262m on turnover up just 1% at UKP3,078m – but the raw statistics hide the fact that sales in the UK actually grew 13% to UKP1,646m, while exports fell 9% to UKP1,582m and now lag behind UK sales. IBM UK chairman Tony Cleaver says that the company’s workstation business, especially the Personal Computer AT, grew strongly, and that the large systems products are going well. As is usual with IBM, no shipment figures are being disclosed, but Meriel Winwood, managing director of United Computers, the mainframe leasing arm of United Leasing Plc, said at the Asset Finance and Leasing Digest do last week (CI No 617), that seventy-seven 3090s were installed in the UK in 1986, 29 of which were sold outright and an additional five were leased by IBM. Market researcher Romtec’s end of year figures indicate that IBM’s share of the UK Personal Computer market fell to 42% in 1986 and by December the company had actually slipped behind Amstrad with just 25% of sales by volume. Cleaver says that although I am disappointed by our lack of growth in 1986, I remain confident about the prospects for IBM UK. And, with all the worldwide 9335 disk files for the 9370 due for first delivery in the middle of this year – being made in Havant, IBM UK should certainly do better this year without trying too hard – but clearly the company was badly let down in 1986 by some of its European siblings.

IBM Italia has reported 1986 net profits equivalent to about $365m, up just 0.4%, on turnover up 4.6% to $3,420m; exports were up 8.8% at $1,122m, 33% of the total business, and the performance is sufficiently better than that of IBM Corp as a whole that Ennio Presutti can say that the results, especially good in the fields of mainframe computers, small business computers, personal computers and software products, reflect the constant evolution of our product mix and the efficiency of our system of technical and commercial assistance.

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CBR Staff Writer

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