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August 12, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:16pm

INDUSTRIAL REAL-TIMER MODCOMP HOPES CSP WILL BE ITS SAVIOR

By CBR Staff Writer

Since being wholly sold off by AEG AG last year (CI No 2,891), industrial real-time computer maker Modular Computer Systems Inc, or Modcomp, has suffered at the hands of its floundering new owner Cerplex Group Inc, and now hopes to have been rescued by Billerica, Massachusetts-based CSP Inc. CSP, whose business is in digital signal processing, embedded systems and bar code reading devices, has bought the Fort Lauderdale, Florida company for around $8.5m in cash. It seems that what CSP gains is a European presence, and an enhanced sales channel. Modcomp, on the other hand, which provides real-time systems for aerospace, factory automation, refineries and the like, gains a backer with a strong balance sheet, which it hopes will enable it to accelerate its expansion plans. Having known revenue around the $90m mark back in 1979, Modcomp has, according to chief financial officer Manfred Appel, ridden a rollercoaster over the years, and saw revenue down to $33m in 1994. This had climbed back to $36.7m last year with a profit of $2.5m, and is on target for $40m to $41m this year, Appel says. Ironically, the company’s rescuer turns over significantly less, at around $16m, but Appel says it has a strong balance sheet buoyed by equity and assets. It seems Cerplex, which bought 49% of Modcomp from AEG at the end of 1994 (CI No 2,574) and the remainder in April last year (CI No 2,784), was having financial difficulties of its own, which in turn ‘hurt’ Modcomp. Modcomp will remain as a separate subsidiary, under the leadership of its president and chief executive John Clary. As well as real-time systems, the company also launched an Internet-based electronic commerce product, ViewMax 2000 at the end of last year, which enables the use of legacy systems over the Internet, for electronic commerce. It says it has seen a lot of interest in the new product, and has sold it to large US insurance companies, as well as Mitsubishi Ltd, Toshiba Corp and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.

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