British Data falls on disappointing results

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A RISE of 10 per cent in interim pre-tax profits at British Data Management, to pounds 1.75m, disappointed expectations. Shares in the specialist data management and storage company closed 7p lower at 212p, despite its statement that prospects for new business have improved.

Stephen Crown, chairman, said the company was 'on a cusp'. A year ago it established a consultancy team to advise customers on outsourcing office tasks such as filing, computer back-up and registry services.

So far the company has won a five-year office management contract from BP, its biggest customer. It has tendered for several government contracts under the market testing programme, and hopes to announce its first win soon. Andrew Ripper, an analyst at Smith New Court, said: 'If the company does win this sort of business, the larger size of the contracts would make a material difference to earnings.'

The interim dividend was 1.65p, up from 1.5p. Earnings per share fell from 6.3p to 5.7p.