At the end of a strong half year’s trading, handheld computer company Psion Plc has some 12m British pounds in the bank, and, following the recent abandonment of its talks with Amstrad Plc (CI No 2,965), would still consider acquisition if the right company came along. The company reported profits up 27% at 6.5m pounds, […]
At the end of a strong half year’s trading, handheld computer company Psion Plc has some 12m British pounds in the bank, and, following the recent abandonment of its talks with Amstrad Plc (CI No 2,965), would still consider acquisition if the right company came along. The company reported profits up 27% at 6.5m pounds, and claims the figure without exceptional expenses incurred in investigating potential acquisitions, would have been up 56% at 8.0m pounds. Revenue in the six months to June 30 rose 35% to 53.7m pounds. Sales of the company’s palmtop products, especially the Series 3a, were up 33% at 34m pounds, and the company says important new corporate and professional applications are emerging for the products. Sales of industrial products, used for applications such as inventory management, ticketing and field service showed encouraging growth. These include the Workabout family, the HC range and the Organiser II family. The company’s Dacom PC Card modems also continued to experience strong demand, it said, with sales up 47% on last year at 11.1m pounds. Psion said UK and European sales showed good improvement, but it admitted that US sales were disappointing. Group finance director Mike Langley said there had been problems of over-stocking in the distribution channels, and that distributors had witheld orders in the first half to let stocks run down a little. He acknowledged that sales were not at an acceptable level in the US, and said the company was taking measures to address this, although he did not elucidate. Langley said the company has been building an in-house team of Groupe Speciale Mobile specialists over the past 18 months, to incorporate wireless data communications into its handheld computers. One area of perceived value from the Amstrad acquisition would have been Amstrad Dancall A/S Groupe Speciale Mobile digital cellular technology. However, Langley said one of the benefits of the publicity surrounding the potential Amstrad deal was that most of the major GSM suppliers had been in contact with Psion, and the company would go forward with a combination of in-house technology and licensed third party GSM applications. Psion increased research and development spending in the hal f year by 47%, to 3.5m pounds, and said it will continue to increase its investment. Significant expenditure in marketing is also planned in the second half with the introduction of new products. Chairman David Potter said the outlook for the second half is good. Psion will pay an interim dividend of 0.65 pence, up 30% on last year.