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August 4, 1988

MILITARY SD STARTS LIFE WITH UKP4m ORDER…

By CBR Staff Writer

SD-Scicon Plc has, as reported briefly in CI No 985, split its UK activities between two new companies, SD and Scicon Ltd: at SD’s formal launch last Wednesday managing director Denis Harris got the new company off to a flying start with the announcement of a UKP4m Ministry of Defence combat radio contract. The Combat Net Radio Management Information System combines tactical frequency management with automatic production and distribution of communications information. Commenting on the new company Mr Harris said that SD-Scicon Plc, with a combined turnover of UKP250m, now has the corporate strength and financial muscle to support bids for major projects, or as he referred to them himself, megaprojects. SD, headquartered at Fleet, Hampshire, is itself split into three divisions: systems, consultancy and a software technology centre. Though it is particularly strong in government, defence and aerospace markets, Bruce Graham, sales and marketing director, says that he plans to alter the balance in the company’s market share. Because of the volatility of the defence market SD hopes to gain a more even split between civil and defence. Mr Graham said he believed the nature of the computer industry is now changing – the emphasis on software is far greater than five years ago – and he sees opportunities for SD opening up in air traffic control, police, weather forecasting and the emergency services. SD’s order books for the year are expected to be around UKP50m and it is currently working on a UKP17m project for the Metropolitan Police as well as negotiating with three European meteorological offices. Following the takeover of Scicon by System Designers the new group claims to be the largest software house in the UK, second largest in Europe and in the world Top Ten. With 56 offices worldwide and subsidiaries in France, Germany and the US it believes it is ideally placed to take advantage of an integrated European market in 1992 and says it is discussing a number of collaborations with continental firms.

SD-Scicon’s other arm, Milton Keynes-based Scicon Ltd, will concentrate on a number of commercial markets by splitting into four divisions, aimed at a number of vertical markets. Scicon Energy provides computer services to oil, gas, petrochemical and related process industries. Since the merger the division claims to have seen a fourfold increase in invitations to tender from oil companies other than BP, its former parent and customer. Scicon Finance applications include investment management and securities accounting, broking and market-making and dealing room systems integration. Though the market has obviously slowed down in the wake of last October’s crash Scicon Finance claims that following the merger the division now has a complementary portfolio to allow us accomodate such fluctuations in demand. Scicon Industry concentrates on a number of areas including computer aided engineering, process planning and manufacturing requirements planning and in the last three months has taken over UKP6m in orders. The fourth division has no vertical market: Scicon Networks provides communications and IBM, Unisys and DEC bureau services to commercial and industrial users, markets. It specialises in facilities management, expected to be a UKP125m market in the UK by 1991.

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