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Technology / AI and automation


Information Technology Plc has been teetering on the brink of a public flotation for some three years now, but the company really is now approaching the head of the new issues queue, and is expected to make its debut on the Full List of the London Stock Exchange within the next two months. Sad to say, no-one without a hot line to the brokers will be able to get in on the ground floor because the Hemel Hempstead minimaker is coming via a placing – of about 25% of the equity – to value the UKP30m a year business at between UKP20m and UKP30m. Brokers to the company are Phillips & Drew and the merchant bank is N M Rothschild. Information Technology and Norsk Data are the last survivors of a once lusty crowd of independent European minicomputer manufacturers – companies that stood or fell by the mini alone – that included Digico and Business Computers Ltd in the UK, Dietz Computer Systeme in Germany, Ordoprocesseurs in France. The core product of the company, the Momentum fault-tolerant 32-bit mini, traces its descent in an unbroken line back to the Modular One that the company was formed by Iann Barron to develop back in 1966. Rescued by the bit-slice microprocessor, which crashed the cost of developing hardware to run its ever more extensive and valuable proprietary software (a move Digico always eschewed, which is likely why it is no longer around) the company currently still majors on its own original operating system and Transaction Applications Driver, but is now very seriously flirting with Unix, having licenced the implementation by Sequoia Systems to run on the Momentum. Fault-tolerance stood it in good stead ahead of Big Bang, and it looks for pre-tax profits up 67% at UKP2.5m on sales up 10% at UKP32m for the year to April – and looks for UKP100m by 1991 or 1992.

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CBR Staff Writer

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