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Advantage says international sales difficult


Friday 22nd November 2002

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Technology company Advantage Group said today its domestic businesses continue to perform well but the difficult international information technology (IT) environment is eating into its first half trading results.

Speaking at the company's annual meeting, chairman David Wolfenden said despite the company making significant progress with its New Zealand businesses during the past year, the company is dealing with tough international conditions.

"While we have been encouraged by the progress made against our business objectives over the past year and our solid domestic performance, our international sales have been frustrated by longer timeframes for decision making," he said.

"We believe we are very well positioned for the market upturn and more importantly when businesses commence to invest. In the meantime, we continue to manage our business prudently and develop solid business relationships."

The company is picking a break-even result for the first half, followed by a modest pick-up in the second half.

Advantage posted a net profit after tax of $4.46 million after including unusual items of $2.22 million in the year end to June.

Mr Wolfenden said the company is preparing to adopt a new brand, following the court case with Advantage Computers Ltd.

Advantage lost the lengthy High Court trademark wrangle in July, forcing it to remove the "Advantage" name from parts of its business. Advantage and Palmerston North-based Advantage Computers had been locked in legal action since October 1999, the latter seeking an injunction against Advantage Group to enforce trademarks it has held since 1992.

The ruling didn't mean the company had to change its name, but it must alter branding and advertising in areas that overlap Advantage Computers' trademarks, which do not expire until 2013.

The trademarks cover everything from computer hardware and peripherals and computer retail services to computer programming, software design, computer consultancy and computer systems engineering.

Shares in Advantage last traded up a cent at 33c against a year high of 64c and a low of 31c. Before the dotcom slide in 2000, Advantage shares topped $5.65, and stayed above $3 for a time after the downturn.

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