IBM UK moves back into black

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IBM's UK operations moved back into profit last year for the first time since 1990 and the company said its restructuring was almost complete. IBM UK shed more than 2,230 jobs in 1994.

Profit before tax rose to £96m after £80m in restructuring charges, compared with a loss of £174m the previous year. Turnover rose by 8.5 per cent to £4.4bn, of which exports accounted for £2.3bn.

Javaid Aziz, chief executive, said: "Our results show a dramatic improvement. We are back on track with our business continuing to gain momentum."

He said growth had been achieved across the company's product lines and in the service sector. Increased emphasis on marketing was showing through, helped by the recent reorganisation of IBM worldwide into units focused on specific industries.

The company recently announced the sale of its Havant factory to a management buyout team. The plant, which makes computer disk drives and other equipment, will continue to supply IBM and other customers. IBM still has personal computer manufacturing at Greenock in Scotland and a software development laboratory at Winchester, as well as sales and marketing throughout the UK.

This week the parent group reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.06 per share, which was ahead of expectations, but warned of a decline in sales of personal computers.

IBM was dealt a blow when Compaq Computer, a leading PC company, claimed number one position in the market. Compaq said on Wednesday that record sales brought a 61 per cent rise in fourth-quarter income to 90 cents a share.