ICM Computer Group saw a modest increase in its turnover in the six months ended 31 December 1998, following its listing on the London Stock Exchange in May.
Despite slow revenue growth of about seven per cent over the previous year, during the second half of 1998, ICM managed to increase its pre-tax profit by 26 per cent over 1997's results, with margins rising across all business units. The reseller had been growing year-on-year revenue by 22 per cent.
Barry Roberts, chief executive of ICM, blamed Compaq's acquisition of Digital for the reseller's slow growth.
'Sales of Alpha came to a grinding halt from April to October and revenue on those products were about 30 per cent of what they usually are,' he said. 'Since Compaq reaffirmed its commitment to the platform, sales have come back up and people who deferred decisions after the merger announcement are releasing their capital again.
'We expect growth to be more consistent with previous years during this half,' Roberts added.
ICM's figures were also affected by the deferment of two large projects.
Roberts declined to give details, but said the delay was symbolic of the markets ICM operated in - IT customer support, business continuity services and IT systems.
'Our business is mainly project-oriented so if you get slippage in one of them, it's simply deferred for a while,' he added.
Roberts revealed that ICM was looking to acquire another company to augment its existing business model. Ideally, that reseller would be active in the same three market segments as ICM and employ about 100 staff.
ICM expects its interim revenue to the end of June to be bolstered by the setting up of two business continuity centres to provide backup facilities for customers in case of a disaster at their offices.
Two customers in the financial and auto industries were contracted to start using the Manchester centre, which opened last November, from the start of this month, Roberts said. A number of other clients have also expressed interest in using the Birmingham facility that is due to open in May.
The results presented shareholders with a maiden interim dividend of 0.9p per share which Roberts claimed was 'within the expectations' of analysts. ICM shares were trading last week at 265.5p.
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