Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK

Business: The Company File

Psion profits collapse

Psion faces competion from Microsoft, who has teamed up with BT

Profits tumbled at UK palm-top computer company Psion in the first half of 1999.

Poor computer sales hit Psion hard, as did continued investment in its joint venture Symbian, which is developing a system to allow Internet access on mobile phones.

Pre-tax profits fell to £57,000 from £4.1m, while sales slid by 12% to £64.2m.

But Psion chief executive David Levin says it is still happy with analysts' forecasts of £5m pre-tax profit for the whole year.

"We did say at the beginning that this was going to be a year of two halves," Levin said, adding that already revenues at Psion Computers have picked up in June, July and August following the launch of the Series 5mx.

The bad news for shareholders is that continued investment in Symbian and other ventures is likely to dampen profits, Levin said.

Symbian future

Psion is relying heavily on Symbian for its future success, but the joint venture is expected to take a bit of £6m to £7m out of earnings in 1999.

[ image: Nokia is part of the Symbian joint venture]
Nokia is part of the Symbian joint venture
Psion created Symbian with leading mobile makers, Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola to develop a system allowing Internet access on mobile phones.

Their operating system, Epoc, is touted as the standard for next generation cell phones, a distinct possibility since these manufacturers make 80% of the world's mobile phones.

Levin maintains that Symbian is on track to break even in the last month of 2001. No decision to float Symbian is likely to be made until after it starts to turn a profit, with its first year full profit expected in 2002, Levin added.

Symbian faces competition from Microsoft, which has teamed up with British Telecom to create Internet services via mobile phones and hand-held computers.

Money to burn

Levin is quick to point out that the company is cash-rich and ready to go shopping for start-up Internet companies.

It had £72.7m on its balance sheet on 30 June, compared with £24.1m a year earlier.

Levin outlined his intention to buy before, but stresses there is no time limit on when they make their move.

"We are not in a sector which is established. We are in one which is developing right now," he said.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

The Company File Contents

Relevant Stories

01 Jun 99 | The Company File
Microsoft targets Psion

03 Mar 99 | The Company File
Psion sounds Internet profits siren

Internet Links


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Microsoft trial mediator welcomed

Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Christmas turkey strike vote

NatWest bid timetable frozen

France faces EU action over electricity

Pace enters US cable heartland

Mannesmann fights back

Storehouse splits up Mothercare and Bhs

The rapid rise of Vodafone

The hidden shopping bills

Europe's top net stock

Safeway faces cash demand probe

Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

New factory creates 500 jobs

Drugs company announces 300 jobs

BT speeds internet access

ICL creates 1,000 UK jobs

National Power splits in two

NTT to slash workforce

Scoot links up with Vivendi

New freedom for Post Office

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Airtours profits jump 12%

Freeserve shares surge

LVMH buys UK auction house

Rover - a car firm's troubles