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Dragons' Den badboy's Expansys burns sales, profits up in smoke

Peter Jones' tech bazaar tells of wobbly six months

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Marlow-based online smartmobe dealer Expansys - owned by Dragons' Den moneybags Peter Jones - issued a profit warning this morning citing weaker-than-expected trading conditions.

The AIM-listed wireless tech web retailer, which also distributes SIM cards for mobe networks and operates ecommerce and other software projects on behalf of mobile operators, slipped out a brief statement for shareholders ahead of its year-end financial report due on 30 April.

"Trading to date in the second half of the financial year has been below our expectations with the result that we expect profit for the current year to be substantially below market estimates," the company admitted.

The business briefly returned to profit in fiscal 2012 - it made a profit before tax of £800,000 - but things took a turn for the worse this fiscal year, leading to a £2.3m loss at the halfway point.

This was largely due to one-off charges of £2.3m to pay for substantial restructuring in its European retail business as Expansys tried to offset a £1m year-on-year fall in sales for H1.

In today's statement, Expansys said it had "completed the cost savings forecast in the retail business and will enter the next financial year with a lower cost base". The mobile devices and networks flogger said this gives it an "appropriate structure to support growth".

However, the firm said that a wider review is now taking place "in order to accelerate [its] objective of becoming an end-to-end solutions provider to Mobile Network Operators, Mobile Virtual Network Operators and OEMs".

"This is not currently envisaged to involve a sale of the company," Expansys added.

Jones is a non-exec deputy chairman at Expansys and a majority shareholder with 41.63 per cent. ®

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