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Taxan scraps plan to make PCs in UK

Japanese bosses get the jitters

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Taxan Europe has ditched plans to manufacture PCs in the UK after its Japanese parent company got the jitters.

The monitor maker was planning to set up a separate division and open a PC factory in Wales. It was even in the process of submitting plans to the Welsh National Assembly for funding and had poached the general manager of would-be rival system builder Mesh, Paul Kinsler, to lead the project. But the scheme was abandoned just weeks after Kinsler's appointment.

"I hired Paul Kinsler - he started to work on September 1 to implement a project for Taxan to launch into the PC market in the UK. He joined based on project approval which had come from Japan," said Hugh Chappell, Taxan Europe deputy MD.

But Taxan's parent company Kaga Electronics became nervous at the recent spate of profit warnings in the PC industry - from industry heavyweights such as Dell and Intel.

"The long term risks associated with the project were considered to be too great," the company said in a statement. And Kaga bosses scrapped the plan. Taxan Europe staff were told of the decision on Friday.

The move has no doubt been a costly one for Taxan - it has paid Kinsler "considerable compensation" in lieu of his contract, which exceeded two years. But Hugh Chappell, Taxan Europe deputy MD, stressed Kinsler was still working for the company.

"I want to make it very clear that the intention was to make the announcement about the intention to go into the PC market," said Chappell. "That project is cancelled, but Paul is still an employee of Taxan."

He added that the move was "in no way a reflection on Paul."

Taxan's decision to start making PCs, which was never officially announced but revealed by The Register in August, also upset some UK system builders who were Taxan monitor customers. The Taxan computers would have been aimed at the retail and direct mail order markets, pitting the company against the likes of Evesham.com, Mesh and the recently troubled Carrera.

According to Kinsler, the company, which has a sales office in Bracknell, accepted system builders might take their business elsewhere, but this was in no way a reason behind the decision.

He described the u-turn as "very frustrating", but said he plans to stick with Taxan. Kinsler will be kept on to "consider other areas" the parent company is involved in, Chappell said. No more details were given.

When asked how he felt about the instructions from his Japanese bosses to cancel the project, Chappell, who has been with Taxan for 15 years, said: "It [the PC manufacturing plan] had my backing and I'd hired Paul Kinsler. I don't start projects and hire people on projects that don't work."

"Sometimes you have to respect a decision from above." ®

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