Optima makes a splash on the ASX

Optima makes a splash on the ASX

Australia's largest PC manufacturer, Optima Computer Technology, has turned around the fortunes of ASX-listed company Iocom within a matter of months.

The combined entity, now rebranded as Optima ICM Ltd, has posted a small net loss of $1.776 million. There are favourable signs, however, that Optima's white-box business is growing significantly and that the merger ensured the survival of the Iocom business.

When broken down, the Optima Computer Technology business, which manufacturers desktop, notebook and file servers, made a strong contribution to the listed group's figures. Over the year, as both a standalone company and as part of the listed group, Optima Computer Technology posted record revenues of $103 million (up 38 per cent) and a net profit before tax of $4.2 million.

Business is booming, according to Optima ICM managing director Cornel Ung. The manufacturer shipped 63,000 units last year, but after signing a recent deal with the Department of Defence he expects that figure to exceed 100,000 units in the current year. "White-box builders continue to grow because we understand market requirements and provide better service to our customers."

Despite the Optima Computer Technology business making the most significant contribution to the listed group, Ung is still bullish about opportunities in the IT services space. He disagreed with any suggestion that the old Iocom business, which provides outsourcing services to the SMB market, had underperformed. "The company spent most of the financial year under different management," he said. "Since the merger we have made some very positive changes."

Ung is most excited by the business opportunities the group has made available through the acquisition of Powerlan's BI business. This business unit, now named OpenNet, provides managed desktop services and LAN, WAN and Internet security services to large customers. Ung plans to pitch these services to Optima's large customer base, particularly in the education vertical.

The directors of Optima ICM are now expecting a profitable 2003 with revenues exceeding $120 million.

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