ICL Plc, with every intention of re-floating on the London stock exchange as soon as its shares are sustainable at a price of UKP2.25 – unlikely to happen in less than two years – turned in pre-tax profits for 1990 down 26% at UKP110m on revenues that fell 1.2% to UKP1,612m. Results include those of […]
ICL Plc, with every intention of re-floating on the London stock exchange as soon as its shares are sustainable at a price of UKP2.25 – unlikely to happen in less than two years – turned in pre-tax profits for 1990 down 26% at UKP110m on revenues that fell 1.2% to UKP1,612m. Results include those of US subsidiary ICL Inc for the full year, although the company was not acquired from STC until last July. A net cash outflow of UKP164m included UKP92m in dividends paid to STC and a second tax payment making a total of UKP91m. Pre-tax figures include an interest charge of UKP1.8m in 1990, against UKP9.6m interest earned in the comparative year. Research and development expenditure was boosted by UKP16m to UKP215m, representing 13% of total sales – 98% was from ICL’s own cash reserves, and most of it was spent in Europe. ICL chairman Peter Bonfield pointed out that if turnover was reported in US dollars, it would show a growth of 10%. Abroad, the company saw a 60% growth in Asia, a strong performance in Eastern Europe Poland and Hungary – and in 1991 will be shipping the DRS 6000 to Japan for distribution by Fujitsu. Continental Europe spoke for UKP300m revenues in 1990. Personal computer shipments were up by 70%, accounting for 10% of hardware revenues – ICL claims the number one position in sales of UK 80486-based systems. Unix-based systems represented 14% of 1990 hardware sales, up from 7% last year, with the launch of the DRS 6000 and the Unix 5.4 operating system. Shipments of the DRS 6000 have reached 1,400, and 80% of the systems were bundled with ICL’s OfficePower office automation system or one of its relational database packages. The Series 39SX mainframe, now one year old, yielded UKP50m in sales in 1990, which Bonfield interprets as a vote of confidence in the VME operating system (see Page 1). Mainframe sales added up to 50% of total hardware shipments, up from 45% in 1989. Retail systems accounted for 13% of hardware sales. Software and services grew by 9%, now accounting for 50% of total turnover. ICL is aiming to procure 70% of its components and services from Europe – in 1990 it managed 50%, up from 35% four years ago.
Transferring the bulk of its manufacturing to Europe has been a bigger success for the company – 85% of production was effected in the UK and Denmark during the 12 months – the remainder done in India and the California. On the subject of the company’s exclusion from three of the five Joint European Submicron Semiconductor Initiative projects for which the Department of Trade & Industry had already agreed funding, Bonfield claims surprise, saying the decision appears to have been taken in haste for reasons of political expediency. ICL is working with Groupe Bull SA and Siemens-Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG in the European Computer Industry Research Centre, which the three companies established in Munich – the consortium has decided to invite US and Japanese companies to join. But Bonfield still maintains his stance on state aid, making one wonder how close the company’s relationship with Bull actually can be. ICL’s new OpenFramework concept, based on X/Open, CCITT and International Standards Organisation standards, endorses the Unix International Inc roadmap, provides inter-operability with the Open Software Foundation’s Distributed Computing Environment, and covers software engineering tools, relational databases, an open dictionary and networking services. All ICL processing systems are supported by the new architecture, which also includes an OSI-compliant Open Systems Management Centre, designed to manage open systems, but also equipped to support distributed environments of ICL, IBM, DEC and Bull systems. The X/Open VME approval (see Page 1) brings Open VME within the new OpenFramework. Meanwhile, ICL clearly has no immediate intent to associate itself with the Advanced Computing Environment consortium – Bonfield places his hand firmly with the Unix System V.4 Sparc camp, but concedes that if the open systems market is seen to be throwing in with the MIPS Compu
ter Systems Inc crowd, then who is ICL to argue. Something else to watch out for – as a systems integrator, ICL concedes it may begin marketing Fujitsu mainframes in the UK where IBM compatibility is required, although it does not intend to push them too hard. – Susan Norris