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April 14, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:53pm

SKYLINE DOES THE BUSINESS FOR COMPAREX AS PROFITS JUMP 48%

By CBR Staff Writer

Comparex Informationssysteme GmbH has posted upbeat results for 1996 that are a big improvement on 1995 despite the continual price erosion of mainframe systems and increasing competition in Europe from IBM Corp that is said to be verging on the hostile. The eventual arrival of the bipolar-CMOS combination M2000 mainframe series – Hitachi Ltd’s Skyline – and the Tetragon RAID storage system at the end of 1995 helped push revenue for 1996 up by 17.1% to the equivalent of $1.6bn. While the company has experienced price erosion on mainframe costs from 35% up to 50% on some systems, pre-tax profits went up 47.6% to $152.5m: Comparex chief executive Rolf Brillinger was pleased with the results and had more to be happy about especially as Comparex’s controlling shareholder BASF AG had a very disappointing year in comparison, seeing only 11.4% growth overall. Comparex is now 40% owned by South African company Persetel Holdings Pty Ltd. Despite Comparex’s success, Brillinger remained cauti- ous, and said he wasn’t expecting to see results as positive as these this time next year; by that time the M2000 product line will be established and with no major new products announced yet for 1997 it will continue to be the backbone of the company’s sales. The first enhancement for the M2000 is expected some time in either April or May, although Brillinger was quick to point out that the company would try not to limit its success to the range and said that Comparex’s lower spec mid-range Hitachi system, the C2000, would also be pushed heavily over the coming year. A series of performance hikes for the M2000 Skyline will take effect over the next three years, and it is promising a 250 MIPS uniprocessor, leading to an eight-way configuration delivering 1,500 MIPS, putting Comparex’s mainframe performance far, far ahead of anything IBM can manage. It also expects some benefit from any move to European Monetary Union, with increased revenue from services and potentially new systems sales in the offing: but Comparex is not banking on this, and Brillinger said Monetary Union work can only be capitalized on when it is actually implemented, although the daunting conversion, which must run alongside Year 2000 work, will not provide more than two to three years’ increased income. – Matthew Garrahan

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