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September 16, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

London-based Sema Group Plc, the Anglo-French software and professional services company, has announced its mid-term results to June 30, with pre-tax profits flat at UKP7m, on turnover up 38% on the same period last year at UKP190m. Sema’s chairman, Barney Gibbens, comments that the period under review has been notable for lowered business expectations in a number of the group’s markets, especially in the UK – in particular, Sema’s engineering services for the UK Ministry of Defence is reported to have suffered from the March/April ban on new contracts. Graham Ferrero, director of UK marketing for Sema, told Computergram that this has resulted in a significant downturn in Sema’s defence business – but, he hastened to add, this business is still profitable. Despite these trends, Barney Gibbens says, the group has condinued to achieve healthy underlying growth, with the systems businesses in particular showing year-on-year turnover gains of over 20%. In addition, Sema’s newly-acquired activities – West German software company ADV/Orga, French financial systems house Tibet SA, and Emnid, a West German market research company (CI No 1,399) – are reported to have performed as expected. Adding to this, Ferrero said that ADV/Orga, which was making a loss when it was acquired by Sema, is recovering faster than expected and looks set to break even by the end of the year – he attributes this healthy rate of recovery to the growth of business in East Germany. Emnid, he says, is doing satisfactorily while Tibet, which needed some attention when Sema took it over, is well placed now for the Big Bang which is about to happen in the French stock exchange with its new Relit system for paperless transactions. Gibbens says Sema’s profits have been affected by the depressed market conditions, as well as by net exceptional rationalisation costs of UKP673,000 – in July, Sema cut back its defence business in the UK, getting rid of 80 of its staff. He adds, however, that when these factors are taken into consideration he is satisfied with pre-tax profits, saying that the group’s French and Spanish systems businesses, and the marketing services division, are currently doing well. Gibbens expects market conditions in Europe to remain difficult for the remainder of 1990 and says the group is taking a cautious view on prospects for the full year – but, he adds, the majority of the group’s businesses are performing satisfactorily and with Sema’s broad geographical coverage of the European market, there can be substantial confidence for the long-term.

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