Plans for the assembly of ICL’s ME29 machines under licence in Poland (CI No 840), have now been given approval by CoCom, the Western trade body which governs export controls. The Putney based company has also revealed a joint venture with eight Polish companies for the export, assembly and testing of ME29s in Poland. The deal is ready to go and is only awaiting the green light from CoCom which is not expected to object since it has already approved export licences for the ME29. Though the project is described as being the same as any other joint venture, because of Poland’s shortage of hard cash, ICL has agreed to some pretty extraordinary financial arrangements. ICL is to sell Polish furniture in Western Europe, the proceeds from which will pay for the parts exported. The new joint venture is called Furnel – furniture electronics – and the British company will have a 35% stake along with eight Polish state trading organisations, four of which are furniture manufacturers. It will have one seat on the board, probably drawn from one of its 16 staff already based in Poland who market all of ICL’s licensable systems there. The ME29 is compatible with the original ICL 1900 series, early models of which were built in Poland as the Odra 1304 and 1305. ICL could not give details of the number of machines to be assembled or the potential value of the pact.
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