Jobs to go as Time buys Tiny Computers

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The Independent Online

Tiny Computers, Britain's largest PC manufacturer, was yesterday swallowed up by its smaller rival Time two days after it was forced into administration. The acquisition will lead to substantial job losses among the combined company's staff of 2,500. The two businesses currently have 280 outlets but Time wants to reduce that number to 150 by June under a new brand Computer World.

Tiny's collapse came as a surprise. Until three months ago it was pressing ahead with plans to open 140 showrooms and create 450 jobs across Britain. The chain, which controls 18 per cent of the PC market in the UK, was also still advertising heavily at Christmas.

But Tiny's losses became "substantial" following the 40 per cent slump in Europe's PC market last year, leading its Jersey-based parent company OT Computers to call in the administrators Grant Thornton.

Andrew Hosking, Tiny's joint administrator at Grant Thornton, said: "Tiny did not adjust its overhead base in response to sales down some 40 per cent. In consequence substantial losses were incurred."

Time, founded by Tahir Mohsan and Tariq Mohammed, would not disclose how much it has paid for Tiny. The new group will have a market share of 30 per cent of Britain's PC market. Time has made its founders Tahir Mohsan and his half-brother Tariq Mohammed a fortune, but last year it had to slash overheads in response to the fall-off in demand for computers among consumers.

Brian Lynn, Time's managing director, said Tiny customers would see little change, with orders for recently purchased PCs honoured. PCs will continue to be manufactured under the Tiny and Time brands and will be sold through the Computer World outlets.