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February 22, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

That UKP2m Unix order to ICL Deutschland (CI No 872) looks to have come none too soon for the company – according to Computerwoche, it seems the unit made a loss equivalent to at least UKP2.5m during 1987, on turnover down around 10% on the 1986 figure. This forms a striking contrast to optimistic targets laid down by the UK parent, which had been looking for 18% growth in 1987 – but it has come as little surprise: the Nuremburg subsidiary had been growing progressively less optimistic as word came in of dull trading at its French sister company. The Dusseldorf Info-Markt information service topped the pessimistic predictions league with the suggestion that ICL Deutschland’s turnover fell to around UKP10m in 1987 from UKP25m in 1986 and estimated the overall loss at as high as UKP11m. Whether the sales decline was really UKP5m as Info-Markt suggests, or as ICL Deutschland insists, nearer the UKP2.5m mark, will never be known: the subsidiary does not publish separate figures, and its results will simply be consolidated with those of its parent, which is due to announce them in March. According to Werner Ott, managing director of ICL Deutschland, the disappointing performance was caused by various reorganisations which, he says, will strengthen the company’s long term position. These include developing a strong presence in the Unix market by investing in a new range of office communications software with the help of a new German Porting Centre in Nuremburg. Staff costs, which have risen sharply in the last two years, are one area where ICL Deutschland will undoubtedly be looking when attempting to get its books into better order.

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