ICL commits its entire strategy to services

Mike Simons

Computer services group ICL is to commit the entire company to an e-business services strategy.

Chief executive...

Mike Simons

Computer services group ICL is to commit the entire company to an e-business services strategy.

Chief executive officer Keith Todd said ICL was accelerating a £100m programme unveiled last November.

The first phase of the transformation will involve a combination of stock market flotations, incubator company spin-offs, disposals and closures.

The announcement is part of ICL's efforts to reinvent itself ahead of the company's stock market flotation scheduled for later this year, which analysts say could raise upto £5bn.

Todd rejected some suggestions that ICL was a "Johnny come lately" by saying the company had a proven track record of providing e-business solutions. ICL intends to list KnowledgePool, its e-learning business, on the London Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, but will retain a majority share holding.

The ICL chief executive also said the company would not leave behind its legacy customers, including a large base of public sector organisations.

Andrew Boswell, ICL's chief technology officer, told Computer Weekly that the company had overcome its problems with the Pathway project to automate the UK's post offices. This programme saw ICL write off £180m last year.

Immediate ICL plans include floating its Finish subsidiary on the Helsinki stock exchange and establishing an incubation unit to identify investment opportunities in Internet ventures and nurture operations which could potentially become successful stand-alone companies.

The company will also accelerate its "e-skilling programme" by putting 3,000 staff a year, out of a total of 22,000 employees, through colleges it is creating in the UK, Germany and the US.

Its trade distribution service organisation, which sells computers to local resellers, will be closed and the European spares logistics business is being disposed of in a management buy-out.

Todd announced the company's intention to expand in Germany, The Netherlands and France over the next two years.

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