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May 2, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Tons of room for expansion is the bullish cry of Terry Cave, who, poached some six months ago from Control Data, is now the chief executive of Reading, Berkshire-based peripherals distributor and manufacturer Sintrom Group Plc. This may come as something of a surprise to market watchers, analysts and shareholders who have recently witnessed three years of steady but unspectacular growth by the company: moves implemented since the beginning of the Cave regime imply, however, that a careful analysis and restructuring of the company’s four subsidiaries is now well under way. Top of the agenda is the proposed significant UKP2.5m acquisition of Online Ltd, the computer installation service company, whose present customer base includes IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Rapid Terminals, Data Translation and Fribronics (CI No 918). Its client list aside, two year-old Online was apparently chosen from an initial 10 companies for its technical expertise and efficiency and will operate as a wholly-owned independent company within Sintrom’s Sysmatic Ltd computer maintenance subsidiary. Talk of synergy seems, in this instance, well justified: essentially Sysmatic will maintain Online’s installations, an arrangement which, according to Cave, places the company at the front-end of the computer services business and in line to exploit the increasing market trend towards single sources of supply. Steps have also been tak en to gain a better balance from the four subsidi aries which make up the group; Perex, the loss-making data equipment manufacturing subsidiary has been fundamentally restructured, with the aquisition of VRS Data Ltd, the integration of one of Sintrom’s distribution subsidiaries, Ellinor Peripherals, and the decision to withdraw future investment from the design and volume manufacturing of tape streamer pro ducts. The local networking products manufacturing subsidiary, Logic Replacement Technology is reaping the benefits of its NQA network quality analyser, launched last year, while Sintrom Electronics and Sysmatic Ltd, the two distribution and service subsi diaries which account for some 60% of the Group’s business, have now established themselves as steady and profitable companies. The only major casualty of the restructuring appears to be the Legend Custom Displays subsidiary which was disposed of – with some 25 employees earlier this year. Overall, the Group, which recently reported pre-tax profits of UKP1m for the year to December 1987 on turnover of UKP14.5m, is now confidently aiming at a UKP20m turnover this year; in the light of these changes, claims Cave, there’s no one else on the market quite like us.

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