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October 20, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

The directors of Prodis Plc, the group that includes SDL (UK) and Silica that entered administration earlier this week has fleshed out the causes of its problems (CI No 2,772). It appears to have been a casualty of the collapse of Commodore International Ltd, which the Sidcup, Kent company said left it with a ú20m shortfall in its turnover – pretty nasty, as it sales to the end of 1994 were ú44m. Commodore machines represented 46% of Prodis sales in the past. Silica is a distributor, mail order company and operates 22 concessions, including one in Harrods and in 18 Debenhams stores. Following the collapse of Commodore, Prodis managed to sign distribution deals with IBM Corp and Compaq Computer Corp, but the company was expecting the Amiga product line to re-emerge by mid-1995, following Escom AG’s acquisition of the technology rights of Commodore (CI No 2,661). This was probably a bit optimistic as Escom only finalised the deal in late April. The products did not become available until earlier this month, by which time Prodis was experiencing erratic supply from its other personal computer computer manufacturers, including IBM and Compaq, and the company was crippled by cash flow, according to John Arundel, marketing controller for SDL. Prodis had been in discussion with potential investors over the last few months, but it was too little, too late. Some of these are talking to the company again, along with some new faces attracted since the recent publicity. The Administration Order gives the administrators from Casson Beckman & Partners and the directors of Prodis three months from October 13 to reorganise or restructure the company. Their proposals will then be put to the creditors for approval, or otherwise. Mike West and Tony Deane, co-founders and directors of Prodis said they expect the company to come out of administration next year after new investment finance has been secured. The company said all its major suppliers have pledged their support to Prodis, as have Harrods and Debenhams. The order covers the run-up to Christmas, traditionally Prodis’s most profitable period.

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