At the buffet luncheon – we’re not rich enough to afford expensive meals – announcement of its interim results, Acorn Computer Group Plc yesterday reported a pre-tax loss of UKP1.4m, up from a loss last year of UKP140,000, on turnover down 3% at UKP19.0m. Managing Director Brian Long didn’t find the loss surprising. He put […]
At the buffet luncheon – we’re not rich enough to afford expensive meals – announcement of its interim results, Acorn Computer Group Plc yesterday reported a pre-tax loss of UKP1.4m, up from a loss last year of UKP140,000, on turnover down 3% at UKP19.0m. Managing Director Brian Long didn’t find the loss surprising. He put it down to interest in the Master series of microcomputers tailing off in the first half, following the distribution of the new 32-bit Archimedes computer system to local education authorities for assessment. The General Election was also blamed since the tightening up of budget procedures meant delayed contract announcements. The sales figures however were lower than anticipated even though Acorn had allowed for the heavy costs of manufacturing and marketing the new Acorn RISC Machine-based Archimedes and expenditure on continuing research and development. It reckons its overdraft has remained stationary at UKP2.8m, well within its UKP16m facility. Long proclaimed his commitment to getting Archimedes properly established in the market – volume shipment begins this month – adding that this was more important than forecasting when the company will be in the black again. He said Acorn’s strategy had been to launch new products and now that it is coming to the end of its investment, the results should improve although he declined to comment on an actual figure. Nonetheless, a top-end Archimedes machine configured to be a Unix workstation is expected some time next year. This could herald Olivetti’s share in the company, currently standing at 79%, being reduced to 50% by way of a share issue to outsiders to fund further investment. This is in line with the agreement made between the companies when Olivetti bailed Acorn out for the second time just over two years ago. Over the next six months Long sees the Master and Compact series taking the lead in sales terms whilst Archimedes will account for the lion’s share by September next year. Although Acorn was to have been the third partner with Olivetti and Thomson-CSF on an OS/9-based educational micro for Europe, nothing has materialised, but Acorn is still looking for a French software house partner.