RM has muscled in on the obvious areas of growth, supplying half the UK's secondary schools and two-fifths of its primary schools with computers and popular educational software. One of its best products is SuccessMaker. A government study showed that using it for just 15 minutes a day for six months improved children's maths skills three-fold. What's more, RM continues to grab share from its only big rival, Exemplar, a joint venture between Apple and Acorn.
One reason is the weakness of Exemplar's package. The group still uses non-standard proprietary software, while RM offers the more universal Microsoft system, compatible with educational publishers like Dorling Kindersley, and sells directly to schools, offering good back-up support.
RM's Internet service offers even greater potential. The group supplies more than half of the UK's secondary schools with dial-up Internet services and a lucrative network connection which allows a whole classroom to use the Internet simultaneously. For use of the system, schools pay around pounds 3,000 a year. Mike Greig, finance director, reckons that RM has more than two-thirds of the schools' Internet market.
Currently hefty telephone charges are keeping the lid on growth, but an agreement between BT and the cable groups on a cap of around pounds 600 a year looks imminent.
Floated at 175p in 1994, Budget euphoria lifted RM's shares 55p to 862.5p yesterday, putting them on a forward multiple of 30 times. Obviously not cheap, but given the prospects they could still go higher.Reuse content