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January 24, 1988

NORSK DATA RESOLVES TO CONCENTRATE ON MARKETS, SECTORS WHERE IT IS STRONG

By CBR Staff Writer

Following Norsk Data A/S’ profit forecast bombshell (CI No 844), a chastened Rolf Ska`r has been telling the Wall Street Journal where the Norwegian goes from here. We have spread ourselves too thin in markets where we were very small, said the company’s founder and president. This year, the company will spend less on expansion, and will concentrate on building market share in product sectors and markets where it already has a substantial presence. In particular, the thrust will be behind the integrated newspaper and publishing systems that have been such a feature of the technology revolution in what used to be known as Fleet Street. Last year, only in Scandinavia did sales exceed projections, the previously fast-growing UK and West German markets turned dull, and the joint venture for southern Europe with Matra SA turned so sour that it has been unscrambled. Analysts now look for the company’s growth rate to fall to the industry average, but worry that at that rate, business may take five years to grow to match the capacity Norsk now has in place. That sounds too pessimistic given that the people running the company have 21 years of experience of managing the problems of being an almost unknown company from an unfashionable country in an industry where most users assume that if you are not American you don’t really exist. And in the meantime, the extremely receptive Scandinavian market provides a cushion to tide the company over what will have to be a rough couple of years.

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