The company's explanation for the decline in turnover is falling computer hardware prices, which were passed on to customers, and the stalling of the important local government market ahead of administrative changes.
Pre-tax profits were hit by a big increase in interest payments related to the structure of the buyout debt. As the pounds 107m net of expenses being raised will be used to pay off that debt, the pro forma comparisons look much healthier. Operating profits have risen each year.
MDIS has other advantages for a software and systems company. More than half 1993's pounds 148.5m turnover came from recurring revenues, an unusually high proportion. Its niche markets cover a wide range and in the public sector it has a dominant position.
It also has conservative accounting policies, in happy contrast to some computer firms. For example, it does not capitalise any research and development spending and treats leases extremely cautiously. The offer price puts MDIS on 18.2 times the pro forma 1993 earnings, reasonable for the sector.