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April 21, 1994

SHERWOOD PLUNGES TO UKP2m LOSS FOR YEAR

By CBR Staff Writer

London-based Sherwood Computer Services Plc has reported a pre-tax loss of UKP2.0m for the year ended December 31 1993, compared to a profit of UKP3.0m last year. Turnover was UKP23.6m, up 12% on last year’s UKP21.1m. The loss was largely caused by exceptional items totalling UKP1.86m, and consisting of property lease provisions, redundancy costs, the writing down of product carrying values in the balance sheet and higher net interest costs. But, as chief executive George Matthews is swift to admit, performance was poor even apart from the exceptional items. The two problem areas were the Lloyd’s of London market and housing. The company has slimmed down its activity in the Lloyd’s market – cutting our cloth to balance our income, so there won’t be a repeat of the losses in that market, said Matthews. Sherwood has also quit housing altogether by appointing Capita Group Plc as distributor for its housing products; all staff will transfer. Next year, said Matthews, restructuring costs will be at a similar level to 1993’s; however, he said the group was forecasting a return to profit next year, fuelled by the company’s investment services and life and pensions businesses. In investment services, said Matthews, Sherwood’s 80%-owned joint venture with City People is launching a series of new products and services. The company’s Sherwood International Ltd unit, which markets a life assurance and pensions systems, provides massive opportunities thanks to legislative changes. Half the market will require new systems in the next two to three years, according to Matthews.

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