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  1. Technology
January 26, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

ICL Plc, one of the UK’s largest IT companies, and one which is currently without a stock market listing (following its acquisition by Fujitsu Ltd in December 1990) has removed any remaining uncertainty surrounding its plans for a flotation in London, putting a firm date in the diary for the year 2000. But any flotation will see the current 90.1% stakeholder, Fujitsu Ltd of Japan, retain a majority holding. Previously, ICL has talked about a possible float sometime before the millenium, but chief executive Keith Todd has confirmed that the company needs the extra time to establish a pattern of earnings growth, without which no satisfactory valuation can be attained. ICL made losses of 2.5m pounds in 1996, but Todd is confident of a return to profit in the year to December 1997, the preliminary results of which are due out in mid March. Current estimates of a market capitalization of around 2bn pounds on flotation would put ICL just outside the UK’s 100 biggest listed companies. ICL is also keen to avoid riding onto the market on the crest of the Millenium wave, thus avoiding an embarrassing sag in the share price once the volume of consultancy work has subsided. Todd is concerned to ensure that the market views ICL as a long term player. Only 450 of the 19,000 strong workforce are involved in full time Y2K work, but the company has been deluged with CV’s from retired programmers, hopeful of supplementing their income after reading press coverage of ICL’s so called Dad’s Army of aging recruits brought in to combat staff shortages as the millenium looms large. The transition of ICL from a computer manufacturer into a dedicated services organization is on track, a spokesperson said, and thoughts that the float had been delayed due to restructuring problems were erroneous.

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