Cambridge company Dual Technology has ceased trading unexpectedly, leaving its customers in the dark.
The notebook specialist closed its UK operation on 31 March. John Culbert, who held 49 per cent and the Taiwanese parent, Dual Corporation, which held the remainder, jointly owned the firm.
The UK office was set up in 1992 to assemble and distribute the Taiwanese giant's notebooks. The operation was staffed by 15 employees and had a turnover of #3 million. Despite this figure representing a 25 per cent increase, Dual made a loss of #395,000 in the year ended 31 December 1997.
A representative for Dual Netherlands said: 'It is only the UK division that has ceased trading. There is somebody from Dual Netherlands in the UK at the moment trying to see what can be sorted out with regards to services. It is still unclear what the results will be.'
However, a source close to Dual suggested that the reason for the company's demise was a dispute between the Taiwanese parent and Culbert.
'I know the company was shipping between 400 to 500 notebooks a month. It was doing well. The way Dual was working in the UK wasn't normal though. All the other Dual operations were wholly owned, not franchised. It is believed there was a falling out between Culbert and Taiwan.'
Nicola Baird, analyst at Romtec, said: 'The notebook sector of the industry is quite strong at the moment, but it is also very competitive. There are also a number of sub-categories that have entered the market - PDAs, palmtops, slimline notebooks - which has widened the industry and favoured the larger players.'
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