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MicroScope top five, week ending 25 September 2009

Microscope contributor

Northamber again delivered a damning prognosis for the year ahead as it filed results for fiscal 2009, revealing that only interest payments from its cash in the bank and rental income kept the accounts in the black.

Sales fell 22% to £139.3m in the year to 30 June while payments of £355k from the bank and £12k from renting warehouse space turned a £320k operational loss into a £52k profit, down 87% on 2008.

"Nonetheless, in the exceedingly difficult conditions, I have to consider this result creditable, and thank all members of the company for their efforts and contribution," said Northamber Chairman David Phillips in a statement accompanying the results.

Meanwhile, profits at Westcoast and XMA parent Kelido Ltd tumbled 74% in 2008 as a result of hefty interest repayments, weak market conditions and a steep rise in costs.

Group operating profits of £6.34m for the year ended 31 December 2008 were wiped out by a £6.51m interest charge, resulting in an operating loss of £126k, but tax gains of £220k gave the company a profit of £94k (compared to £435k in 2007).

Hewlett-Packard revealed it is looking to externally recruit a head for its Personal Systems Group (PSG) as it emerged that Dave Poskett is in line to take on a channel role in the business unit under the revamped organisational structure.

The channel management teams have been folded into the Enterprise Server and Storage (ESS) and Technology Solutions Group (TSG) product divisions and the same is happening to the bods that looked after PC and printer resellers.

CCD has been talking to two broad line admirers interested in acquiring the business but as yet the offers on the table have not met expectations.

Mike Norris, chief exec at Computacenter, is in no hurry to sell its distribution arm CCD, as the business had become profitable following its decision last year to stop selling PCs and printers, which has also freed £10m in working capital.

He told MicroScope: "The business makes money and I can understand why people would want to buy it but I genuinely think the likelihood is that we will continue owning that asset.

Finally, the controversy surrounding this year's job losses at Nortel's UK operation has taken a bizarre turn after the far-right British National Party waded into the row.

In an open letter to the administrators, Ernst & Young, party leader Nick Griffin claimed he was "under no illusions about the root cause of this disgraceful episode lies [sic] in the global economy".

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