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August 26, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

JBA Holdings Plc, the Birmingham, UK-based ERP software house’s share price – which touched 1200 pence at the beginning of this year but has been on the slide ever since – dipped another 5% yesterday to 465 pence on news of the company’s first half results. JBA announced first half revenues up 43% to 126.1m pounds. Europe led the way with a 54% increase to 61.9m pounds while there was a 34% rise to 57.4m pounds in the Americas and a 33% rise to 5.3m pounds in Asia, despite currency problems. The difficulty JBA faces is not growth, but making money. The company slid 3m pounds into the red after a 884,000 loss in the same period of 1997. Chairman Alan Vickery claims that the company has moved over the past six months to an organization that combines entrepreneurial flair with corporate control systems. This is not evident from the accounts, though gross margins have been improved by switching some product development costs from cost of sales to administrative expenses. What is preventing JBA from showing healthy earnings is R&D expenditure – up 34% in the first half to 16.7m pounds. The company still has plenty of ambition though and plans to build a new ERP niche in electronics, is beta testing new software, including an e-commerce system at several sites. While Vickery says that product development expenditure for the year will be similar to the 34m pounds spent in 1997, he says the company will deliver considerably more product function this year.

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