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Technology / AI and automation


Sheffield, Yorkshire-based Electronic Data Processing Plc is celebrating its silver anniversary with a good set of fiscal year figures. The exclusive distributor of the NCR Corp ADDS Mentor range of Pick systems in Europe has announced pre-tax profits up 102% at UKP2m on turnover that rose 4% to UKP17m. Chairman Michael Heller attributes the strong profits to sales of its own two-year-old distibution software package, Mentor Merchant – UKP600,000 worth of additional licences were sold over the year and software application sales accounted for UKP3m of group revenues; increased maintenance revenues – computer maintenance represented over UKP7m of sales; and higher productivity through cost control – for example, says managing director Richard Jowitt, people who leave aren’t being replaced. EDP, whose main competitors in the Pick market are Sanderson and McDonald Douglas Information Systems, reckons its expansion from distributor to total system supplier has also contributed to its success. The company invested UKP3m in developing the high margin Mentor Merchant product in an attack on the stock control market, for which it now supplies computer systems, software applications and hard- and software maintenance, and reckons that the investment in Merchant is now beginning to pay off. In September, EDP announced the two new Mentor Model 1 80386-based systems aimed at the small business user (CI No 1,504). The group has UKP2m long-term borrowings and its short-term borrowings total just over UKP1m. Net profits for the year include UKP230,000 costs incurred in an aborted acquisition in North America on which EDP was unwilling to elaborate. The group says it has no specific interest in North America, but is keeping its eyes open for anything suitable in the UK – including other stock control software businesses. This year, EDP is aiming for a 20% to 25% profit lift, which will require a 10% to 15% turnover increase – Jowitt is sure that this ambitious goal can be achieved with an anticipated increase in the proportion of total system sales, for which a marketing campaign was launched in October. A final dividend of 2.225 pence has been proposed.

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CBR Staff Writer

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