ICL to report profits down by a third

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PROFITS AT ICL, the computer manufacturer owned by Fujitsu of Japan, fell by about one-third last year from pounds 62m before tax in 1991, the company is expected to report on Wednesday, writes Mary Fagan.

However, ICL is the only big European-based computer manufacturer to remain in the black during the current recession in the industry.

ICL is due to be floated in the stock market in 1995 at the latest. The company has already appointed Schroder as its merchant banker with SG Warburg and Cazenove to advise on the flotation.

In 1992, ICL shed about 2,000 jobs worldwide, including 1,000 in the UK. More job losses are expected in 1993 as the recession continues in its European markets. The company is suffering from cuts in local government expenditure, thought to have lost ICL up to pounds 40m in sales last year.

ICL's problems have been compounded by price wars in personal computers. According to Dennis Exton, an analyst with Merrill Lynch, the company has also seen margins in mainframe sales drop rapidly.