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November 25, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

One year after its management buyout from Phicom Plc (CI No 533), Trend Group Ltd is well on its way to the Unlisted Securities Market with turnover set to exceed UKP20m this year, up from UKP18.5m in 1985, an exclusive UK agreement from Memotec Inc of Montreal and an initial contract with the Manpower Services Commission for a nationwide X25 network. Trend’s High Wycombe-based subsidiary, Trend Datalink Ltd, yesterday announced the agreement with $Can400m a year Memotec to distribute its X25 collection. According to Datalink, the products enable users to network multi-protocol synchronous and asynchronous environments. They include asynchronous SP830 and SP8300 packet assembler/disassemblers, or PADs, which connect from four to 48 async terminal devices or computer ports to public or private X25 networks. This is done over single or multiple network channels. Memotec also provides a synchronous SP8400 PAD with support for up to 28 users and communications protocols like IBM SNA/SDLC, Burroughs Poll/Select and Honeywell VIP 770/7800. A multi protocol MP8000 switching node, X25 concentrators / multiplexors, X25 switching nodes and NCC 1, NCC 2 network management systems also feature in the collection. Datalink reckons a typical application of the network would be in a building society or insurance company where multi-vendor equipment is often used. Here the network could connect an IBM mainframe linked to Burroughs, Honeywell, DEC, HewlettPackard and NCR machines. Whereas a linked IBM and Burroughs mainframe typically needs two X25 gateways – one for each machine – and two PADs to access a network, the Datalink collection needs just one multi-protocol switching node. Datalink already has one substantial networking contract. In late 1985 a consortium made up of itself, Camtec of Leicester and Dowty Information Systems’ Gresham Lion division won the contract for the UK Manpower Services Commission corporate network. Datalink is responsible for the service and installation of the network – Trend already has a contract to service the government employment agency’s printers; Camtec will design the network and other equipment and Gresham, the prime contractor, will supply the displays. 950 Job Centres The Commission is organised into nine regions, each with a central Convergent Technologies host connected to individual job centres. So far Datalink, whose turnover accounts for 25% of the group total at around UKP5m, has linked all the central computers. It has also set up a pilot scheme in the north west of England where all Job Centre VDUs have been linked to the regional machine. The trial ends next month when Datalink hopes the consortium will get the go ahead to put the remaining centres on line. Eventually 950 job centres will be able to access any of the nine hosts gaining information on jobs throughout the country. Datalink reckons it would take between 18 months and two years to connect the entire system. The contract is valued in excess of UKP7m with Datalink coming in for a third of that. In the year that Trend has been operating as an independant entity it has set up a new subsidiary, Trend Dataspeed. Formed two months ago and announced officially in January next year, Dataspeed deals in peripherals and has a data communications catalogue called Comcat. The group has also added 20 people to its staff which now stands at 370, 70 of them in Datalink. Trend Scandinavia, based in Kroge, Denmark, employs 44 people at its headquarters and six at its Swedish arm in Malmo. Following its first year as Trend Group Ltd, it says it still aims for flotation some time in the next three to four years.

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