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January 26, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Highlight of the Racal Electronics Plc half-time figures, which saw a lacklustre 6.5% in overall turnover to ?681m, was inevitably the runaway success of the company’s Vodafone cellular communications business, which powered the Telecommunications division to operating profits of ?17m, up from just ?97,000 last time, on turnover doubled to ?62.2m. The company looks for profits from this sector to soar to ?75m in the year that starts on April 1. The Vodafone contribution in turn helped generate the 72.6% increase in pre-tax profit to ?43.4m for the company overall. The company’s pension funding holiday – not likely to be repeated in the wake of Meltdown Monday – enabled Racal to save itself almost ?6.5m, just more than ofsetting ?3.9m in redundancy and other reorganisation costs and ?1.6m in interest on unpaid US tax for earlier years. In Data Communications, the company is happy with Milgo’s performance in the US, but the cheapo modem maker Racal-Vadic has been hit by a downturn and will only just break even this year. Profits were hit by start up costs in Holland and Belgium and loss of market share in other European markets so that overall, Data Communications saw profits off 29% at ?11.2m on sales down 6% at ?138m. Defence Radar and Avionics saw profits halved and sales off 13% at ?54.7m, but as is so often the case in the Racal mix, that was more than offset by a return to profits in another sector, Radio Communications, which was ?1.2m to the good this time after losing ?3m last time, on turnover up 5% at ?54m. Marine & Energy just better than broke even after ?3m losses last time, and that was on a sharp decline after restructuring that saw sales cut back by 18% to ?50m. Specialised Business Activities, which include security, were healthy, with profits up 32% at ?4.7m on turnover up 18% at ?97.2m. Overall a picture of substantial recovery with more to look forward to thanks to the runaway success of Vodafone; without that inspired diversification the figures would have looked pretty dismal – but then spotting and going for opportunities like that – and the luck of winning the franchise are what the successful running of a company are all about.

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