Newswatch – Computerland profits to rise

ComputerLand UK is tomorrow expected to announce an increase in pre-tax profits to around £1m from £586,000, despite an earlier profits warning.

The company, which provides IT products and services to UK companies, issued the warning in March this year. It said its results would be ‘significantly below expectations’ because of an unexpected fall in product sales during last December and January.

Finance director Michael Kent has faced the battle of turning around the company’s fortunes. His efforts, and those of chief executive Graham Gilbert, appear to be working well. Analysts are predicting that pre-tax profits will rise to about £1.4m next year.

The 37-year-old joined ComputerLand in April 1998 from clothing and footwear manufacturer Sherwood Group last year.

Soon after his arrival, ComputerLand was busy integrating the sales, service and back office functions of two recent acquisitions – Netman and KDL. In December of last year the company announced this work was complete. According to Gilbert, ComputerLand was in an ‘excellent position to realise the full benefits’ of its recent acquisitions during the second half of the year.

City analysts marked down the 1998 profit forecasts from £1.7m to nearer £1m as these ‘benefits’ failed to materialise in a market where hardware sales were down across the board.

The company floated on AIM in September 1997, since when its share price has tripled, a rise in common with other companies in the sector.

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