Star Computer Group Plc’s purchase of Orchard Management Services Ltd for 360,000 new 10p ordinary shares and additional shares taking the total paid to UKP500,000 extends the company’s customer base downwards into the smaller accountants’ practices. The UKP2m-per-annum Orchard – net profits of UKP90,000 for the year to September 30 1986 – designs and sells MS-DOS-based packages for accounts production, payroll and book-keeping, and timesheet entry. Star’s traditional business has been in similar products, developed by Tetra Business Systems and supplied on Convergent Technologies’ N-Gen and Unix machines, for the medium size accounts practice, but it now receives nearly 50% of its income from packages for general commercial accountants. The acquisition gives Star a 25% stake in Orchard Inc, a US West Coast-based start-up that is currently rewriting Orchard’s products for the US market, but Star chairman David Blechner says only Orchard and not Star packages will be sold there.
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