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February 21, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Despite what it describes as ‘tough’ market conditions, Hemel Hempstead-based services and training company FI Group Plc says it has good reason to be enthusiastic is moving ‘steadily forward’. It saw operating profits for the six months to October 31 rise 19.4% to UKP616,000, turnover up 5.9% to UKP13.3m and pre-tax profits increase 15.1% to UKP588,000. To reflect this, the Board paid an interim dividend of six pence, up a penny from last year. As reported earlier (CI No 2,110), the last six months has seen the formation of a new division, FI Partners. This has won the group’s largest ever contract, to manage Whitbread Plc’s computer systems. The new division, which is headed by Lyn Barrat, group director of human resources, will be taking on 100 ex-Whitbread employees in March under the deal and will be actively seeking similar strategic alliances with other companies. The other divisions within the group, FI Kernel, FI Training, FI Systems, FI Scotland and AMP Computer Recruitment have also performed well, winning a combination of new or renewed contracts from supermarket giant Tesco; utility companies Thames Water, Northern Electric and Yorkshire Water; retailers the John Lewis Partnership and B&Q; and Scottish company Britannia Life. Indeed, business has been sufficiently brisk that the group has opened a new work centre at Horley, West Sussex. FI’s core mainframe support business, FI Systems, it is noted, is going into the second half with a record order book. Meantime, the group’s new internal market arrangement (CI No 2,002) – around 72% of permanent staff and a third of its freelancers hold shares – has also settled into place. The group’s annual general meeting in September attracted a turnout of 120, and its first share dealing day saw buyers matching sellers at prices of UKP3.37 – 25% above the original UKP2.70.

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