Alphameric Plc has fallen prey to a steady deterioration across all of its three main trading divisions leading to a pre-tax loss of UKP981,000 on turnover down 21% to UKP24m. Over the past year the company has suffered from the downturn in the City market for its financial systems; a lack of confidence (thanks to […]
Alphameric Plc has fallen prey to a steady deterioration across all of its three main trading divisions leading to a pre-tax loss of UKP981,000 on turnover down 21% to UKP24m. Over the past year the company has suffered from the downturn in the City market for its financial systems; a lack of confidence (thanks to rising interest rates) in the retail sector which makes up its data broadcasting customer base; while the keyboards business is short of revenues because of the company’s rationalisation programme. Although Alphameric has reduced payroll and overheads by closing 10 sites in the UK, it declined to comment on the number of job losses it has implemented. This rationalisation programme will continue with more of the company’s manufacturing being transferred to Alphameric’s main factory at Andover, Hamsphire at the expense of the Portsmouth plant, but it is considered unlikely that this or any of the company’s remaining three sites will close. At present the company’s turnover is split evenly between its three businesses and there are no plans to change this balance. In the short term the company is looking to its dealing room business (which it claims has the third largest installed user base in the world) to help it out of its profits trough and has recently received its first order for such a system from Tokyo worth UKP1.4m. This particular deal is viewed by the company as a recoup on its investment in the CP Group’s software on which it has spent approximately UKP2.5m in development. In the long term, however, Alphameric believes that data broadcasting could prove the most profitable side of its business, and points to its business with Coral Racing as an important source of revenue, since it places orders of over UKP1m at a time. Yet, unfortunately, a large part of Alphameric’s current troubles stems from a major travel agent pulling out of a UKP10m data broadcasting deal. Indeed, perhaps the company should give a little more consideration to its product mix, else it may find a company like Apricot Computers being overfriendly. In the meantime Alphameric’s finance director, Roger Hatfield, is asking shareholders to show patience, saying they should be encouraged by the current number of orders on the books with orders worth UKP4m having been taken for May. Yet forecasts of a return to profitability were significant by their absence.