Computer networks, peripherals and services group Sintrom Plc of Reading is gently ticking over at the interim stage with pre-tax profits up 15% at UKP948,000 on turnover up 43% at just under UKP18m as a result of acquisitions. But this is simply not good enough according to Jon Watts, marketing and business development manager for […]
Computer networks, peripherals and services group Sintrom Plc of Reading is gently ticking over at the interim stage with pre-tax profits up 15% at UKP948,000 on turnover up 43% at just under UKP18m as a result of acquisitions. But this is simply not good enough according to Jon Watts, marketing and business development manager for the company – the problem being that Sintrom has always gently ticked over, and would now like to roar into gear. The dynamo that will start taking Sintrom into faster growth is believed by the company’s executive team to be networking. At the moment peripherals distribution still accounts for over half of the profits the group generates, with the rest coming from networks and services. The company is, however, focussing on networks, working from a base of three companies: first and foremost there is Sintrom’s LRT subsidiary which designs, manufactures and markets its own range of networking products, such as its wide area network bridges which can be put on top of line of site bridges, and its Network Quality Analyser, a proactive networking monitor that sits on a network and takes corrective action should faults occur. Aside from marketing these products, LRT is busy developing new products. These projects include a fibre optic bridge, as well as more sophisticated network management software that can be loaded into the Network Quality Analyser to build intelligence into bridges.
Acquired last year
The other two companies in Sintrom’s networking sphere were acquired last year. Online is a network installation company which puts networking infrastructures such as data highways into buildings. It also designs networks and specialises in fibre optic installations. MicroTechnology, on the other hand, is a network systems house that puts in local area networks for corporates, linking up IBM, Compaq or NEC computers via IBM or Novell networking products. In order to grow what is already a solid little networking business Sintrom is looking for acquisitions in the networking application software area in the UK and on the continent. Sintrom has been looking for acquisitions for some while and is hindered by the fact that companies which are approaching it tend to have had a difficult two years, and/or they lack a good management team, and/or they are too small. Not that Sintrom wants to rocket to prominence as a company bloated by an eye-catching acquisition, but it would like immediate profit returns from an acquisition. Sintrom is also, via its Sintrom Network Partnership initiative, looking to add new products to its range. As for peripherals distribution, Sintrom Electronics has seen satisfactory growth, as has the third party maintenance business Sysmatic. The tape cartridge manufacturing company Perex, however, which is a subcontractor for GEC Plessey Telecommunications, is suffering from the knock-on effect of the slow down in product shipments to British Telecom. In fact, Sintrom may forsee a time when it will no longer operate in the peripherals market. If margins do not improve in the value-added end of peripherals, Sintrom would rather get out than become a box pusher. Finally, Watts said that it will be difficult for Sintrom to sustain its high growth rate in the second half, but is still optimistic that it will see some good figures at year-end.