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Psion makes loss, kills dividend

Restructuring darling

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Psion has posted a £13 million loss for the first six months of 2001, even accounting for a £41 million restructuring charge as it ditches the PDA business that made it famous. As a result it has ditched its dividend.

Chairman David Potter said that Psion would be focusing on high-margin corporate stuff from now on while continuing work on Symbian - the smartphone/handheld software company made from an industry conglomeration. He insisted plans to float Symbian were still going ahead.

For the same six-month period last year, Psion made a £3.1 million profit on sales of £94.3 million. Sales have risen 6.6 per cent to £100.5 million but the loss is a pretty clear indication that all is not well at Psion.

"The group is in the process of major and radical change while aiming to remain true to its traditions, both of technological innovation and of delivering value to shareholders," said Potter. Shareholders won't see that a 6 per cent fall in Psion share price today as delivering value though and Mr Potter must be hoping for some of his namesake Harry's magic to rub off on him.

The company is relying heavily on Teklogix, which it says is "performing satisfactorily" and was "a good acquisition". Symbian will become profitable by 2003 or 2004, said Potter, but it will need another cash injection at the start of next year. Yes, Symbian has been hit by the mobile downturn but it "continues to have a leading position in terms of licensee development programmes for Smartphone products for 2.5G and 3G markets". ®

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