Acorn climbs to pounds 1.3m: Research programme bears fruit

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The Independent Online
ACORN, the UK computer group now controlled by Olivetti, increased its taxable profits to pounds 1.3m from pounds 274,000 a year ago but declined to recommend a dividend because of an undisclosed deficit.

The company said tight cost control had enabled it to pursue an aggressive research and technology programme that was now bearing fruit.

Sales in 1992 rose to pounds 48.2m from pounds 40.9m the previous year, and Acorn predicted an 'exciting' period in 1993 and beyond.

Acorn has formed an alliance, Advanced Risc Machines, with Apple Computer and VSLI Technology of the US to develop so-called Reduced Instruction Set Computing. ARM chips will be used in Apple's new generation of hand-held computers, the Newton family. There has been speculation that IBM will incorporate the ARM technology into parts of its product range.

The technology has also attracted interest from other large electronics and computer firms around the world. Last month, it was announced that Sharp of Japan would become an ARM licensee.

Acorn is now seeking to exploit new markets, including professional publishing. The company's key education market, in which it built its reputation, is under increasing threat from competitors.