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November 21, 1995

MINIGRAMS EXTRA

By CBR Staff Writer

Western Micro Technology Inc, Campbell, California is to buy IPI-GrammTech, a value-added reseller of high-technology products and services to government agencies: Western Micro will issue about 300,000 shares of common stock on closing, expected to be this month, and enter into an earn-out agreement with IPI shareholders based on future performance; San Antonio, Texas-based IPI’s commercial business is expected to turn over $12.5m in 1995 and grow in 96/97.

Lincoln, Nebraska-based Lincoln Telecommunications Co will offer a voluntary enhanced retirement programme to shed about 700 eligible management and unionised employees, about 40% of the combined workforce, due to use of advanced technology and the competitive pressures in the telcommunications business, Lincoln said: costs associated with the programme will be accounted for in the current quarter, and the amount of the one-time charge will depend on the number of employees electing to participate, Lincoln said; employees must notify the company by January 5 1996 if they want to quit, and there will be a two-year phased implementation from February to December 1997.

Slovenia’s shift to a market economy has led to a rapid expansion in the cellular network, Slovenia’s only mobile telephone company Mobitel dd said: the country’s fledgling mobile telephone network was established in 1992, since when the number of users has risen to more than 25,000, from 16,333 at the end of 1994, Mobitel said; the company told Reuters its latest achievement was the establishment of a test digital network in the Ljubljana area this month, for which it put out an international tender digital network equipment worth about $28m; Mobitel’s analogue network equipment is supplied by L M Ericsson Telefon AB; market penetration is expected to rise to 7.5% by the year 2002 from 1.4% at present; Mobitel, which is a state-owned company, expects to undergo a privatisation programme in 1996; the government has not yet determined whether Mobitel will keep its monopoly or whether a second licence will be granted; Mobitel’s pre-tax profit jumped to $2.9m in 1994 from $1.1m the previous year, on sales that rose to $36.5m from $22.7m.

Harris Corp’s Harris Semiconductor unit has licensed DSP Group Inc’s PineDSPCore and OakDSPCore core-based signal processors: Harris expects to add the first products using the DSP cores next year – the OakDSPCore will be used in a speech audio processor chip which will become part of a video teleconferencing chip set being developed.

Kyocera Corp, integrated circuit ceramic packages maker, said it will jointly set up a manufacturing and sales company for electronics parts in Shanghai, China by the middle of next month with Shanghai Instrumentation Co: the new company, Electronics Holding Group Co, will have capital of $19.8m, 75% from Kyocera and 25% from Shanghai Instrumentation and will begin operations in August 1996; it will build a factory and initial annual output is estimated at some $19.8m.

AirTouch Communications Inc is opening a new European headquarters in the Netherlands in December: located in The Hague, it will serve as headquarters for the company’s European business development and operations activities, it said.

Sony Corp reckons its joint venture with Visa USA to sell Sony products and entertainment over the Internet will be the first venture to make money on the Internet: the upgraded Web site will make consumers feel as though they are walking through a vast space, and – worryingly for Sony retailers – will become more an actual storefront – customers will be able to buy products from all Sony’s operating companies, such as music compact disks and cassettes, movie videos, a whole range of consumer electronic products and Tee-shirts; there will also be a whole new series of revenue-producing programmes and a mix of services specifically consumers on the Internet.

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Commenting on market gossip of a rights issue, Vodafone Group Plc asserted to Reuter that It’s a very feasible story, but it’s untrue.

Omaha, Nebraska-based MFS Communications Inc has won approval to offer local phone service in Texas in competition with SBC Communications Inc and GTE Corp with service expected to begin early in 1996: the Texas Public Utility Commission’s approval contrasts with a recent rejection of MCI Communications Corp which also sought to offer local service in the state; under Texas legislation, MFS will have several of the aspects of co-carrier status, reciprocal compensation, number portability, interconnection and unbundling of local loop telephone lines; the company has a 145 route-mile fibre optic network in Dallas and a 251 route mile network in Houston; it plans to offer local and long distance service as well as calling card, 800 number, voice mail, customised billing and management reports; GTE and SBC territories do not overlap, so this is the first local phone competition they will face in the state; MFS has local phone service applications pending in Delaware, New Jersey, and Oregon; it already has co-carrier status in eight states, and lesser, local exchange carrier status in four others.

Send three and fourpence, we’re going to a dance… Kalamazoo Computer Group Plc would never have added computer to its name if it knew how much trouble it would cause: in the Saturday Financial Times list of companies reporting this week, Kalamazoo is tagged as being unclassified where in fact it comes under Support Services in the FT list – but then it does appear as Kalamazoo Knitwear – computer, NetWare, Knitwear? The error was carried forward into yesterday’s FT and it appears that the Guardian lifts its Monday list of companies reporting from Saturday’s FT since that had Kalamazoo Knitwear too…

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