Corel to spin off Linux desktop OS biz

Plans return to profit in Q3

Corel said today it is pinning its hopes of a return to profitability in Q3 on its graphics software business.

Speaking from Ottawa, execs said the company would pump up its graphics product line over the next couple of years, possibly through acquisitions in areas such as the Web graphics market.

Corel did not, as expected, reveal the sale of its Linux arm - instead it said it was "currently pursuing opportunities" to spin off the desktop operating system business of the Linux division.

It still plans to keep an interest in the operation and will continue to have Linux versions of its software. It also plans to upgrade current users of its WordPerfect software - rather than spend resources trying to convert rival software customers.

This is all forecast to bring Corel back into the black by the third quarter of this year, with revenues increasing 20 per cent every year for the next three years.

Freshly appointed Corel CEO Derek Burney said it had taken "a lot of work to get our house in order", but that "we want to turn this company around and we plan to do just that".

Most of the sales growth is expected to come from its graphics software, while Corel also wants to plough deeper into the Macintosh market and looking at wireless imaging.

Burney denied the Canadian company was looking to sell off its WordPerfect division.

Last year Corel slashed 21 per cent of its workforce as part of a plan designed to save it around $40 million annually.

This morning its share price dropped almost 19 per cent to C$4.80 ($3.90). ®

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