Frazier takes recycled PCs online

FRAZIER International, the Scottish electronics group, tomorrow launches an online auction site which could create a new market for old computers.

The move comes as a European Commission directive on the recycling of electronic waste and batteries, due to be published early next year, threatens massive problems for companies wanting to upgrade computer systems.

Computers have little second-hand value, leading many companies to dispose of them illegally. Over 900,000 tons of electrical waste accumulates annually in Britain alone.

The environmental damage from such dumping prompted the EC to take action. From 2002 PC makers will have to recycle one PC for every new one sold, and licensed contractors will be responsible for the actual disposal of PCs.

Companies such as Frazier International and the charity Gifts In Kind have recognised the opening such legislation provides. They have embarked on projects of reconditioning what would otherwise be obsolete computers in order to produce second-use PCs that are as good as new.

Gifts In Kind depends on donations from businesses as they upgrade their office computer systems. The PCs are then totally overhauled, new software, donated by Microsoft, is installed, and the computers are donated to charities that need them.

Val Marks, communications consultant for Gifts In Kind, said: "Our schemes provides a win-win situation. Companies don't have to worry about what they are going to do with their redundant computers, and British charities benefit by receiving computers that are as good as new."

Such schemes could capture a niche in the market, a development that would help revive Frazier International's fortunes. After losses following over-diversification, Gordon McKie, the chief executive, has brought the company back to its core business, reconditioning electrical equipment.

Frazier Reclamation, a company that reused printed circuit boards (PCBs), Trans Capital, which made PCBs, the Westech retail outlet in Dumfries and the Cape Town-based subsidiary, Frazier South Africa, were all folded in Mr McKie's restructuring process.

"I believe we have succeeded in refocusing the company so that we now have a common group strategy. We are working with a great concept and one I am confident will be extremely attractive to businesses affected by the EC directive," he said.

n The auction website can be found at www.Lot1.com

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