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September 21, 1995

MINIGRAMS EXTRA

By CBR Staff Writer

The loss-making Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA, which announced a big rights issue a week ago – chairman Carlo De Benedetti says his industrial holding company CIR is willing to help underwrite it – says it aims to achieve 1996 pre-tax profit equivalent to 5% of turnover, and intends to pay a dividend from next year: Olivetti’s 1994 turnover was equivalent to $5,604m, but it made a 1995 first half loss of $114.2m on top of four years of consecutive losses, and said it was taking a $555.6m restructuring charge; it said it had thought it could keep such a charge in the order of 3% to 5% of yearly turnover, but pointed out self-righteously that disasters masquerading as recovery plays such as IBM Corp, Digital Equipment Corp and Compagnie des Machines Bull SA have even gone above 6% to 7%, and they were right the company said; Olivetti’s commitment to restructuring will be around 4% to 4.5%; Olivetti says 70% of the group’s business was now in profit with only the personal computer business, which accounted directly and indirectly for 30% of group turnover, still making losses, and it said it plans to focus this business on servers and high quality desktops while cutting research and development costs to a mere 2% of turnover; merchant bank Mediobanca SpA is co-ordinating the rights issue and has sent out facsimile messages to over 100 investors in Italy and abroad inviting them to subscribe.

Motorola Inc’s Computer Systems Group will resell Data General Corp’s CLARiiON RAID disk arrays for use with its PowerPC servers.

NEC Corp says it has developed a new recycling technology for printed wiring boards used in personal computers, which uses disassembly, pulverisation and separation techniques to increase efficiency: the company said the technology raises the amount of material that can be recycled to 70% of total waste volume, including gold, copper, solder, glass fibre and epoxy resin, with more than 90% of the copper in the boards being recoverable with the new technology; traditional techniques recover less than 20% and are currently limited to gold and copper, the company asserted.

Hong Kong Telecommunications Ltd said it has signed an agreement with Teleport London International to establish a permanent satellite transmission link between Hong Kong and London that will use the Columbia TDRSS satellite system and will have Associated Press Television as its first customer: Hong Kong Telecom said it hoped the two organisations will co-operate in future, developing other transmission paths with various satellites.

Japan’s international telecommunications carrier Kokusai Denshin Denwa Co Ltd says it is considering cutting its workforce to 3,000 from the current 4,200 by the end of business year 2000, which ends in March 2001, although the figure has not been approved by the board: as part of its rationalisation plan, it plans to computerise monitoring operations for its submarine cables, contract out maintenance of electric power plants and consolidate its three offices for telephone directory services into two by the end of March 1999; the rationalisation plan aims to combat intensifying competition from foreign and domestic service providers following government deregulation, the company said; the Japanese government allowed voice services on international leased lines, enabling Deutsche Telekom AG and other foreign carriers to provide low-rate international phone services to corporate users, and asked Kokusai Denshin to improve its business efficiency by reallocating staff and efficiently managing its maintenance division; although the company is 100% privately owned, it is subject to a law which restricts its to international call services.

Taipei, Taiwan-based computer monitor and motherboard manufacturer Elitegroup Computer Systems Inc is setting up a new $5.5m plant to make motherboards in Subic Bay in the Philippines: the move is in accordance with the Taiwan government’s policy to invest in southeast Asia and also to meet rising demand for the company’s motherboards, it s

aid: the plant, which is designed to produce 2m motherboards annually, is expected to start operations by June 1996.

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Groningen, Netherlands-based Information Beheer Groep NV, a public company that administers student grants, has launched a combined cash payment and identity card scheme aimed at Dutch undergraduate students to win over tomorrow’s likely decision-makers: the Smart Card enables students to pay for goods and services on campus and doubles as a telephone payment card, proof of identity and payment for photocopying and canteen meals as well as giving access to transport, colleges and libraries and enables students to notify authorities when they change address via special information terminals; Dutch post and telecommunications monopoly Koninklijke PTT Nederland NV is also involved in the scheme and already provides Smart Cards for disabled travellers in the Rotterdam area; it said it plans to adapt telephone boxes around the Netherlands to enable access to its Scope scheme whereby customers can load cash onto their cards from telephone boxes; a similar scheme is running in the US at the University of Michigan, run by the First of America Bank Inc (CI No 2,724).

Word that Intel Corp had decided to call the P6 the Pentium Pro came through just after we closed on Tuesday – coupled with the suggestion that the existing Pentium should be renamed the Pentium Con: while the streetwalker and the convict appeals, other voices in these parts want the existing one to be renamed the Pentium Amateur.

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