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  1. Technology
September 18, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

In the space of two years, Telemetrix Plc has sprung from the cocoon of an ailing graphics and displays supplier to become a profit-making group with international high-tech components activities and a blossoming data communications division. The original Westward graphics and displays arm still exists today, but when chairman Roy Cotterill is asked whether it is a business Telemetrix should, or even needs to be involved in, the answer comes – after a long pause – I don’t know. Yesterday’s interim results highlighted the fact that while the graphics and displays division as a whole is turning in profits of a sort mainly on the back of Norwegian acquisition Rasterex’ graphics cards – it is still a long way from bringing in anything like an adequate return on investment. Indeed, financial director Bruce Rattray concedes that the only reason Telemetrix is still in the display business is probably because it was there in the first place. And yet there is a noticeable will at Telemetrix to give the division an indefinite amount of time to prove itself. This may smack of a sentimental attachment to the group’s business origins, given that the reasons for the division’s poor performance are, after all, ferocious competition and the inevitable and dependan cy on the Far East for the tubes that are the major component of the terminals – both factors that are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Tele metrix’ figures for the first six months of the year may, however, give an indication that the group – and its major shareholder Allied Electronics of Joh annesburg – might not want to wait too long. The 75% increase in revenues arose overwhelmingly from the acquisitions of last year, and while trading profit doubled, pre-tax profit was practically the same as last time – a year ago, Telemetrix received UKP764,000 in net interest, while today it is paying the bank UKP76,000. The figures show that the group’s activi ties outside displays are essentially sound. In its core components business, US-based GTI Corp continued to cope with a recession in the automotive industry, while the UK semiconductor supplier Zetex performed excellently and is well placed to take on new products. The High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire-based Trend Datalink data communications arm is set to grow with the addition of the Torus Group (CI No 1,489), and can expect to cultivate a mutually beneficial relati onship with newly-acquired Valor Inc (CI No 1,480), which produces a range of miniaturised local area network components. In line with just about every company chairman reporting nowadays, Cotterill was anxious to set the coming six months within the broader context of an uncertain economic and political situation – the Gulf conflict, high interest rates and currency fluctuations were all mentioned as con tributing to a more difficult trading environment. Given these uncertainties, Telemetrix’ strategy will be to concentrate on market opportunities in compon ents and data communications. In reference to the display division, Cotterill mysteriously stated that Telemetrix was looking to re-align resources.

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