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September 12, 1990

PRIME’S DEBT BURDEN ASSUMED ON ITS BUYOUT “WILL BE REPAID IN TWO YEARS

By CBR Staff Writer

Now an unquoted company, and 2,500 or so employees lighter after collapsing in to the arms of J H Whitney & Co last year, Prime Computer Inc believes that the enormous burden of debt it assumed to finance its buyout will be repaid by the end of 1992 – if we don’t do it in two years we’ll be surprised, concluded officials at Prime UK – but highly leveraged companies like Prime are entirely at the mercy of the deteriorating world economy. They said that the present level of income means the firm has 2.43 times the amount of coverage needed to meet the repayment schedules, and that a reflotation of the company is again likely to become a possibility in the future. Computervision appears to be being extricated from the rest of Prime with a view either to selling it outright or refloating it. Following the minimaker’s decision to join the MIPS Computer Systems bandwaggon for its EXL 7000 Unix RISC machines a couple of weeks ago, and take out a corporate architecture licence with MIPS, Prime says that it will be working with MIPS on developing multi-processing versions of the chip set, and will be making a multi-processing system announcement next year. Prime decided to go with MIPS after it realised that developing its own RISC chip set would take at least three years – we lacked the foresight, the company said. Ironically Prime, which now sells Sun Microsystems and DEC workstations as the basis of turnkey CAD/CAM systems, could also have had a burgeoning workstation division of its own had it listened to its engineers. It abandoned a project to investigate the promise of workstation and RISC technology 10 years ago – and the engineers involved took the idea away with them and went on to form Apollo Computer Inc.

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