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Ideal Hardware Plc, the data storage specialist, is confident that the strong growth achieved in the past year will be maintained over the next 12 months. And the reason for its optimism is that it claims to provide the best customer service levels in the industry. Net profits for the year to May 3 were up 21.5% at 6.3m pounds on revenue that rose 25.0% to 172.7m pounds. Ideal is so confident in the future of the data storage market that it has taken out a 6m pound loan to finance the commissioning of a new warehouse and logistics building in Chessington, UK. It currently only uses about 20% of the space available but the company is banking on an increasing share of the European data storage market, which it sees trebling to 20bn pounds by the end of the millennium. The markets liked the story, as well as the increased profits, and the shares leapt 25 pence to 675 pence. The company has also moved its year end accounting reference date from 30 April to 31 July in an effort to shift the already frantic year end period away from the busiest sales months. The board has proposed a second interim dividend of 8.0 pence per share bringing the total for the year to 13.2 pence, up 22.2% (the final dividend will be paid at the end of the 15 month accounting period).

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CBR Staff Writer

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