Terry Cave, former managing director of Control Data UK, has settled comfortably into his Chief Executive’s chair at Sintrom Plc and is now looking to strengthen the UKP10m a year company’s infrastructure in a bid to grow by 20% over the next 12 months. Cave sees his new baby as a solid, debt free set-up but reckons the City may be looking for a livelier performance from the company in the future without jeopardising itself by moving into high risk areas. This he has no intention of doing and is concentrating his energies on stick-ing to the knitting, working with already available resources and forgetting about forays into the mainframe market. He believes organic growth isn’t necessarily a good thing and can result in too many employees without enough business to support them. He reckons one of the company’s strengths, over and above a string of reputable OEM suppliers and distributors like CDC, IBM and 3M, is its experienced sales team. All are engineers whose job it is to add value to the boxes Sintrom buys in and Cave sees his customer list as a reflection of their expertise. Another 10 will be joining the team over the next three or four months to consolidate this strength. Cave is also turning his attentions to the European marketplace. Although Sintrom is one of the top five peripheral distributors in the UK, its European presence is weak and business is split 80:20 in favour of the UK. This is a situation he hopes to change through acquisition in France or Germany but is at pains to point out it isn’t because the company has nowhere else to go. Cave reckons the UK isn’t a big enough pond and transnational dealing is a necessity. Announcements on acquisitions are expected over the next six months after a marriage broking session at Comdex/Fall. Sintrom Electronics, the pretty profitable data storage arm of its Reading-based parent, brought in UKP7m in revenues last year and Cave hopes to see that increase by 15% in the following 12 months. He sees this coming about through growth of the sales force and continuing support of the infrastructure. Sintrom’s other storage company is Ellinor Ltd which deals in magnetic storage devices and alternative input devices using touch typing, screen and voice input. The company is working on revenues in the order of UKP3m and has hopes to take the lead in the alternative input field. It has an exclusive agreement with Personal Touch for a plug-in device that turns the monitor of a computer into a touch screen, as well as dealing in Sony’s point of sale equipment.
Sysmatic third party maintenance
Sintrom also expects great things of its Sysmatic third party maintenance outfit, aiming to make it a force to be reckoned with. With revenues this year of UKP2m Cave says it could easily achieve UKP5m next year especially with the business that will come from ventures in Germany. In the Unix market, Logic Replacement Technology has found its Intracom distribution agreement with Micro Business Systems Plc didn’t go as well as expected and sales were on the low side; although no-one was saying how low. A new networking tool to be manufactured and distributed by Logic Replacement will be out next April, and it is talking to potential users at present. Only the Perex manufacturing arm has been down in the doldrums this year following the end of the main System X installation by British Telecom. Although small exchanges are still being installed, little Perex equipment is involved. Even so a growth rate of 20% is forecast and this week sees the launch of a 60Mb streaming tape drive featuring Sytos file formatting software and talks are going on with the Far East with a view to buying low cost products. Commenting on his resignation from Control Data, Cave said 18 years was a long time to be with any one company. He had helped it through when it nearly went to the wall but when it was re-rganised he decided he would rather run the whole business and not just a small section. That wasn’t possible so with imagined galloping middle age, he moved to Sintrom. Tom Dalzell, ex-Sintrom ch
ief executive, decided to take a back seat spurred on by persistent questions from the City about his re-tirement. And for the record Sintrom is not putting itself up for acquisition: it wants to develop as it stands and maintain its independence. Cave sees it as a good career move with a British firm and that’s not something he is about to throw away.