Optima makes notebook play

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Box builder Optima Technology Solutions plans to take a bigger bite of the notebook market in the next 18 months, building on a forecast $120 million in revenue for its parent company this financial year ending June 30.

Its ASX-listed parent company Optima ICM also reported a pre-tax profit of $3.9 million for four months to April 2003.

Optima ICM had previously posted a net loss of $1.4 million on revenue of $47.4 million in its half-year report to 31 December 2002. Its shares shot from 2¢ to 10¢ on the ASX on Monday following the revenue announcement.

The 2003 financial year will be the fifth of unbroken revenue and profit growth for its core box building business, with the final two months of the year expected to contribute further to the profit figures.

Cornel Ung, MD at Optima, said the company had tripled its revenue in the last five years and was well-placed to achieve aggressive sales figures next financial year. ?In terms of notebook business, we would like to achieve 10 percent market share [in Australia] in the next 18 months, which is 40,000 to 45,000 notebooks,? he said.

IDC predicts this market will grow another 20 to 25 percent this year, building on strong mobile sales already experienced this year.

Optima has already prepared for expected growth by engaging Taiwanese notebook manufacturer Quanta. ?We are expecting growth from that business,? Ung said. ?We do have a very strong partner in the retail sector, with Dick Smith Electronics, with that new range of notebooks we have, we should be able to enlarge our business growth for the next 12 months.?

Optima held a 4.1 percent piece of the total Australian PC market in the first quarter of 2003. Ung said the company would focus more on hardware services next year, consolidating its returns on state and federal government contracts.

?In the new year, we will be focusing our business on PC manufacturing and also at the same time, we want to re-extend services to our existing customers ? desktop management services and maintenance contract services... so we expect growth [there],? he said.

Ung attributes this year?s revenue forecast to the company?s strength in government business ? pointing to a $30 million, 25,000 PC contract last year with the Department of Defence and a recent 10,000 PC rollout with Queensland?s Education Department.

The company was appointed to the supplier panel of Education Queensland in March.

IDC has lauded the company for its ?merit-based? channel strategies and retail focus in an announcement to the ASX. ?This local hero shows that Australian brands can compete in the current market,? it said.

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