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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 07:25 GMT 08:25 UK

Business: The Company File

Digital TV helps Amstrad recovery

Signing star strikers has not harmed Alan Sugar's off pitch activities

Electronics group Amstrad has returned to profit thanks to the launch of digital television in the UK.

The group is one of four suppliers of digital set-top boxes to satellite operator BSkyB.

The set-top boxes are needed to allow digital broadcasts to be viewed through existing televisions.

It reported pre-tax profits of 9.1m for the year to 30 June were 9.1m, a recovery from losses of 1.1m in the year earlier.

Sales jumped 77%, to 94.1m from 53.3m.

Chairman Alan Sugar, also the chairman of English premier league football club, Tottenham Hotspur, said the turnaround had been helped by the group's move away from low margin products and into core products designed by the company's own technicians.

The profit figure was given an extra boost by an exceptional gain of 729,000 from the sale of its branded telephony business.

Since June the company has clinched deals with Safeway and Asda to sell Amstrad TVs through their supermarket stores.

Mr Sugar said the group had recently received fresh orders for set-top boxes from BSkyB which would add to earnings in both the current and following financial year.

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