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School's out for Viglen as results show healthy growth

Sales up, profit up, education still very key to performance

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Viglen Technology has posted steady growth for its end-of-year, saying sales to the schools market remained a focal point of its operations. The London-based systems builder saw sales rise to £90.1 million for the year ended 30 June 1999, against £87.2 million the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up slightly to £4.2 million from £4 million. Viglen is also returning £15.9 million in a special dividend to shareholders, because it can't think of anything worth spending its money on. Prices for potential acquisition targets are simply too high, the company reckons. Viglen said it was staying with its focus on the higher margin areas of networking and the education market because PC prices were still falling. Education sales grew 12.2 per cent to £32.3 million during the year, and over 500 schools had installed the company's own Classlink software. Viglen said the main benefit of the education drive would be felt in the year 2000. Public sector sales grew 11.6 per cent to £22.1 million. Corporate and cash sales were down 5.9 per cent and 21.8 per cent respectively. Viglen said its acquisition of Xenon was helping to grow its corporate business, while it was carrying out its plan to move away from retail and cash sales. It also said £1.9 million had been generated through indirect business, though Viglen had now completely pulled out of this area. Alan Sugar, Viglen chairman, said: "Viglen is committed to growing its share of the schools market, and as such we forecast that our workforce will continue to grow to meet the demands of supporting sales into the schools market. "Despite these additional costs I am confident that we will continue to see the group strengthen and grow. Due to the return of £15.9m by way of a special dividend and the fall in UK interest rates there will be a lower contribution from interest income to the group's profitability in the year to 30 June 2000." ®:

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