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November 11, 1993

OUTLOOK BEGINS TO LOOK ROSY FOR OXFORD

By CBR Staff Writer

The notes of caution sounded by Oxford Instruments Plc earlier this year, now look unduly pessimistic, with around 85% of its total sales made overseas, the decline in sterling has benefited the superconducting magnets manufacturer. At the same time, the US health care market, which chairman Peter Williams predicted might fall off, has held up well and the company’s rate of new orders, across all of its activities has grown 10% since the beginning of the year. The US government’s decision to scrap its Supercollider project will not hit the company since Oxford’s existing contracts for the project are now largely completed. Generally, the future looks quite rosy, and the kind of technology in which the company specialises is just beginning to penetrate the comnercial market, after a long time lurking in research and medical niches. With new products for the group’s traditional business in magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear magnetic resonance and research magnets and with new markets emerging such as fusion and high temperature superconductivity, we are confident that our wire business can continue to play a key role in our growth plans. Undisclosed, but reportedly reduced, losses were made by the company’s plasma technology operation, and the nuclear measurements and X-ray technology businesses, but these should be reversed in the second half, Williams believes. The stronger order book required an increase in working capital, leading to a cash outflow of UKP4.1m, leaving a net cash position of UKP2.6m – healthy, says the company, but meaning that the profit contribution from interest received accounts for UKP359,000, compared with the UKP500,000 for the same period last year. The company has UKP19.3m of cash in the bank. The interim dividend is up 0.1 pence at 1.5 pence.

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