Maddox sets out acquisition plans

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The Independent Online
MADDOX, the computer cable group run by the South African entrepreneur Hugo Biermann, plans two or three acquisitions this year, with the first likely to be announced within three months.

Mr Biermann said acquisitions would be in high-margin service and maintenance businesses. Having bought one such company, Wakebourne, in August, Maddox is selling two low-margin operations, Cables & Flexibles and Seacoast Electric.

The disposal, details of which were sent to shareholders yesterday, involves the sale of the two companies to their managements. Maddox reserves the right to buy back 49 per cent of the new parent, which is expected to gain a US stock market quotation in the next six months.

Mr Biermann, who hit the headlines in 1989 by selling the Vernons pools business to Ladbroke for pounds 180m, promised that results for 1993 would be better than last year. Pre-tax profits in 1992 were pounds 1.13m compared with a loss in 1991 of pounds 311,000.

Comparisons are largely meaningless as until February 1992 Maddox was a cash shell called Pathfinders.

Last year's figures include only five months, between April and September, of the two businesses being sold. Wakebourne, which contributed most of the profit, was included from September. Analysts expect profits this year of pounds 3.3m.

Mr Biermann said Maddox had a 4 per cent share of the UK market for cable installation and maintenance. The highly fragmented market is dominated by Granada with a share of about 35 per cent.

He added that Maddox had been a beneficiary of the recent Bishopsgate bombing, wiring new premises for the displaced Saudi Bank within 48 hours of the blast.

Turnover was pounds 24.2m and earnings per share emerged at 0.38p after a 1.43p loss in 1991. There was no dividend.