Atlantic Computers Plc is flexing its tiny communications muscles, restructuring the original Lion Systems Development into three separate divisions and investing $3m, convertible into equity, in US company Wall Data of Seattle, Washington. Atlantic’s aspirations are to move beyond the personal computer communications market and into corporate networking, competing head on with the Racal Milgos […]
Atlantic Computers Plc is flexing its tiny communications muscles, restructuring the original Lion Systems Development into three separate divisions and investing $3m, convertible into equity, in US company Wall Data of Seattle, Washington. Atlantic’s aspirations are to move beyond the personal computer communications market and into corporate networking, competing head on with the Racal Milgos and Cases of the world. To spearhead the move, the company has built up the sales division it promised at last year’s interim results meeting, called Atlantic Network Systems Plc. It comprises 30 employees and has done UKP6m of business since April, according to board director of Atlantic Warren Palmer, who has been brought in as managing director of the new division. Atlantic Network Systems aims to buy in products initially so that it can pitch straight in for corporate networking contracts. It has just won a contract, with DEC the primary contractor, to install a network for the Ministry of Defence to link some 400 terminals over encrypted analogue dial-up lines. I’ve given the sales team a target of UKP10m pre-tax profits and UKP100m turnover by 1990, says Palmer, bringing the Network Systems contribution to overall group pre-tax profits up to about 10%. The division is aiming at turnover of UKP30m next year. Atlantic has an exclusive worldwide distribution agreement to sell Wall Data’s Datagate SNA-to-X25, 3270, IBM-to-DEC and local area network-to-wide area networking range. The $3m that Atlantic has invested in the US company entitles it to 30% of the business if it decides to convert its investment. Atlantic also sells Alpharetta, Georgia-based Digital Communications Associates’ products into the UK. Within Atlantic Network Systems, a separate unit called Office Communications Ltd has been created to handle personal computer-based products, including the Orator slot-in card that turns a Personalike into a One-Per-Desk-type speech+data machine and as a sort of agile modem, which can act as a facsimile card one day and as an interface to Telecom Gold another. Orator, launched a year ago, was heralded as a hot shot which would sell like hot cakes and cover its development costs, just under UKP1m within three months of its launch. In fact, Atlantic has experienced software problems with the product, which it hopes will be ironed out in release 1.1 of the software, which is due out any day now. Lion Systems Developments Ltd, with its 20 or so engineers, remains as the research arm, whose task is to develop products for the 1990s. But it will be releasing over the next couple of months the V32 modem that was originally promised for spring 1987, and it will be demonstrating a MAP-compatible router at a US manufacturing automation show next year. Atlantic has also consolidated its engineering maintenance and support into a single company, Atlantic Engineering Services Ltd. This will continue to support Network Systems and Office Communications as well supporting other companies in the group.