Azlan recovers its roar

Once ailing distie pulls off a profitable quarter

Azlan Group today announced it had recorded a profit in its interim results and said it was looking at training and services acquisitions. The networking distributor saw pre-tax profit of £2.4 million for the six months ended 30 September 1999, up on a loss of £400,000 million for the same period last year. Sales rose by 26 per cent to £194 million. Azlan saw healthy growth in its services business, where turnover was up 57 per cent to £1 million. Its training business saw sales up nine per cent to £3 million, while its product business grew 28 per cent to contribute £11.2 million in revenue. The company said it was still not seeing any negative impact from Y2K. And it plans to grow its training and services businesses – which jointly brought in over 10 per cent of sales – partly through acquisition. "We are pleased to announce continued progress in improving the profitability of all our operations thus underlining the strength of our pan-European business model," said Azlan chairman Barrie Morgans. Azlan CEO Peter Bertram said Azlan was looking at buying companies in its high growth areas. "I don't need another warehouse or another logistics system. What I may want are some complementary training or services business," said Bertram. The company saw turnover for the UK grow five per cent, and in France, Germany, Holland and Italy sales averaged 43 per cent higher last year. It also announced the launch of an ecommerce business-to-business system. This trading platform will be launched in the UK next month. "We believe this will have a significant impact upon the business in the medium term, as will the next important event for the training business, the launch of Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating system in February 2000," said Morgans. In January, Azlan UK was cleared by the Serious Fraud Office after an investigation into financial irregularities. ® See related story: Azlan and those Fraud Squad investigations

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