Applications management company FI Group Plc has seen very strong progress in its first year since flotation, and is half way to its Year 2000 large contract target. The Hemel Hempstead-based company saw profits rise 75% to 6.6m pounds on revenues up 25% to 98.9m pounds. Share prices have continued to rise since last year’s London Stock Exchange listing (CI No 2,890) and were up 6.5 pence at 521.5 pence, against the 300 pence they made on their first day of trading last year. The company said forward orders are up 52% this year at 109.8m pounds. Applications management remains the cornerstone of FI’s success and represents some 70% of the company’s business. In the year, FI signed six large management contracts of between three and five years duration, and says this takes it half way toward its goal of having 20 major partnerships by the year 2000. In addition to a five-year deal with Barclays Bank Plc and insurance firm Legal & General (CI No 2,953), the company also secured a 9m pound deal with National Westminster Bank Plc’s Retail Banking Services, and extended its deal with supermarket giant Sainsbury Plc with a further 13.5m pound deal over four years. It signed a four-year 11m pound contract with brewery Whitbread Plc, and a five-year contract with the UK Department for Education and Employment, under which FI has taken on 160 of the department’s staff. Since the end of the fiscal year, the group has already signed a further two contracts, with Tesco Plc and Lloyds Bank Plc, worth 18m pounds and 26.5m pounds respectively. On top of its core applications management activity, the company’s FI Recruitment subsidiary saw revenues up 37%, and FI Training revenues rose 36%. The company declared last year that it is looking to expand outside the UK and it says plans for expansion into India are now well under way. FI says it is looking to further strengthen its board and Sir Peter Thomson will remain as chairman for a further period, while chief executive Hilary Cropper also assumes the role of deputy chairman, with a view to succeeding Sir Peter eventually. The company has appointed Jo Connell as chief operating officer and will recruit a business development director within the next six months. The board recommends a final dividend of 3.4 pence, making a total for the year up 24.4% at 5.1 pence.