Alphameric Plc, having succeeded with its UKP4m cash call earlier this year (CI No 1,871), is now off the danger list and is growing in confidence for the future. The Old Woking, Surrey-based keyboard manufacturer, which prides itself on building all its products in Andover, Hampshire here in the UK, is all set for an […]
Alphameric Plc, having succeeded with its UKP4m cash call earlier this year (CI No 1,871), is now off the danger list and is growing in confidence for the future. The Old Woking, Surrey-based keyboard manufacturer, which prides itself on building all its products in Andover, Hampshire here in the UK, is all set for an immediate return to profitability, according to chairman Alan Benjamin. A much happier man this time, Benjamin told Computergram that the group, working now from a much reduced size, anticipates sharp growth, particularly on the back of the new satellite data broadcasting business, to achieve double figures, millions, in revenue terms, in no time. For the financial year to March 31, Alphameric has reported a trading loss flat at UKP1.7m on revenues that plunged 62% to UKP5.1m. Benjamin warns against serious comparison between 1992 and 1991 figures since Alphameric has recently undergone a heavy rationalisation programme and disposed of several operations. These included the sale of FTT Alphameric to a division of British Telecommunications Plc (CI No 1,756). Net losses, before extraordinary items, amounted to UKP2.1m, down from UKP2.9m. Net losses, after exceptional and extraordinary items, were flat at UKP3.8m.
Three lines of business
Exceptional items comprised UKP50,000 redundancy and restructuring costs, down from UKP622,000 related costs last time, plus UKP30,000 losses last time on the sale of an investment. Extraordinary items, meanwhile, comprised UKP1.4m net gains this time from various business disposals, counteracted by UKP3.1m goodwill written off against reserves, compared with UKP881,000 net costs associated with business closures and disposals last time. Alphameric now has 125 staff and currently has three lines of business – intelligent keyboard manufacture, electronic point-of-sale systems manufacture and satellite data broadcasting. The first, which accounts for roughly 60% of revenues now, involves the design of custom keyboards, which Benjamin says are becoming more and more intelligent, as Alphameric is increasingly required to add value to its products these days. David Evans has now been appointed managing director of Alphameric Keyboards, and also gets a seat on the board. The point-of-sale systems business, which accounts for most of the remaining 40% of revenues, is an OEM business, with customers including Groupe Bull SA and Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG. New products in this line are planned to be launched at the international retail technology exhibition in October. A new division – Alphameric Communications Ltd – has now been established to market interactive touchscreen terminals and satellite data broadcast products. Benjamin has high hopes for the latter business, which he expects will soon start bringing in sizable orders: UKP1m is showing on the books already. The chairman pointed to a fourth line of business that is in the pipeline, but declined to elaborate since the licence for the new product has not yet been officially signed. Alphameric is now beefing up activities on the continent and claims to have taken its first significant orders in Germany. Benjamin is only too well aware that the grinding recession is not likely to lift as soon as some might have believed but is confident that the current year will see Alphameric back in profit.