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Northamber profit squishes Y2K bug

Increases dividend for what was meant to be the industry's trading black hole

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UK broadline distributor Northamber very nearly bucked the trend of the rest of the IT industry by riding the wave of Y2K sluggishness and turning in some healthy figures for the last six months of 1999.

For the six months ending 31 December pre-tax profit was £3.4 million, for the same period in the previous year that figure stood at £4.6 million. So, while everyone from Compaq down got bitten by corporates' reluctance to buy new kit in the run up to the millennium, Northamber managed to keep its head well above water. Indeed the £3.4 million looks all the more impressive against £1.7 million pre-tax profit made in the six months ending 30 June 1999 - the back half of Northamber's last full fiscal year.

Turnover for the six months ending 31 Dec was also down slightly at £133.4 million against £140.8 million for the same period in the previous year. Net cash held rose to £5.9 million, against net borrowings of £36,000 for the six months ended 31 December 1998. Net asset value per share is up to 96.6p from 92.2p and the Northamber board has put forward a 33 per cent increase in interim dividend to 2.0p net, payable on 4 may to shareholders on record at 14 April.

In his chairman's Statement, David Phillips, described the outlook for the second half of the year had "started well and we are seeing an improvement in gross margins". He continued: "Much has already been made of the pre millennium 'lock down' by many corporate users. During that period we focussed on enhancing our involvement and facilitation management expertise providing support for a number of major Internet based initiatives."

The Chessington-based distie is also on the lookout for a new financial director, after the departure of Marilyn Lee, who had been FD since 1997 and left at the end of December. ®

Related stories: Profit falls at Northamber, but at least it made one Profit warning from Northamber

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