Printer group issues warning

XAAR, the ink jet printing group, yesterday issued a profit warning after it failed to sign any new licences for its technology in 1998. However, the disappointment was tempered by the news that Calcomp, a US rival, had ceased shipments of printers which Xaar claimed were infringing its patents.

Shares in Xaar rose 4.5p to 60.5p despite the company's warning that 1998 results would be "significantly below" market expectations. The caution follows Xaar's statement in September that full-year results would depend on the outcome and timing of licence fee negotations for its potentially revolutionary new printing technology.

Calcomp announced on December 29 that it was considering strategic alternatives including the sale of its assets or a complete shutdown of its operations, and that it expected to stop shipping its CrystalJet printers.

The firm has been locked in a legal battle with Xaar since July last year, when the UK firm launched a claim that the printers infringed its patents. Yesterday, Xaar said it "remains confident in the value and integrity of its intellectual property rights and patent portfolio."

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