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Acquisitions helped boost annual results at Dicom, the Swiss-based technology group that is listed in London.
Dicom is the market leader for information capture, which involves digitising printed documents and making them easier to search and manage.
In the year to June 30 pre-tax profits on the group’s ordinary activities, excluding associated businesses, were £10.5m compared with £7.8m in 2004, but last year’s results were affected by a £2.22m write-down of an investment in US-based Cardiff Software.
Dicom’s existing business made an operating profit before goodwill amortisation of £12.8m, down slightly on last year’s £12.9m, but the effect of acquisitions brought 2005 operating profits 13.5 per cent higher to £14.7m.
Revenues were up from £156.2m to £179.8m.
“It’s clearly an area we would like to improve in the new year,” Arnold von Büren, chief executive, said of margins at the original business.
Matthew Davis, an analyst at William de Broe, said there was “no overriding concern” about margins at the core business, which were also affected by slightly higher than usual R&D costs and a temporary slowdown in the third quarter.
Shareholders, who will be asked at the annual general meeting to approve a one-to-four share split to improve liquidity, will receive dividends of 6.39p per share compared with 5.55p in 2004.
Dicom in October paid £2.3m cash for Neurascript, a private Cambridge-based software design company, with the total agreed price being up to £8.3m. Shortly afterwards, it bought Topcall, an Austrian software developer specialising in SMS and e-mail communications, for €43.3m.
While Dicom in May began selling its existing products integrated with Neurascript’s document-scanning technology, integration with Topcall’s products is not expected until early next year.
“We’ve always said (Topcall) is a more midterm or longterm play, whereas Neurascript was easier to absorb,” Mr von Büren said.
He added that Topcall’s business, which was in decline at the time of the purchase, had stabilised. “We think that has happened, we are quite pleased with the state (it is in),” he said.
Dicom has previously indicated it wants to sell its Samsung General Agency (SGA) business, the sole distributor of Samsung products in Switzerland. Mr von Büren said the group was still looking at options for SGA, which contributed 22 per cent to group turnover but only 9 per cent to operating profits. However profits at the subsidiary had stabilised, he said.
The group will seek permission to de-list from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange at the end of the calendar year, citing lack of interest from institutional shareholders.
The shares were unchanged at 975p in late afternoon trade.
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