ICL no-float puts plans in danger



Mike Simons

ICL could find itself short of the vital cash needed to transform itself into an e-business services company following the...



Mike Simons

ICL could find itself short of the vital cash needed to transform itself into an e-business services company following the collapse of its flotation plans.

Parent company Fujitsu was expected to float up to 40% of ICL - valued at £5bn. Some of the proceeds had been earmarked for reinvestment to make ICL a strong Internet services company, but weak financial performance made Fujitsu pull the flotation.

ICL is now facing a hard battle to maintain staff morale and customer confidence.

Chief executive Keith Todd departed with an undisclosed pay-off and a promise that it would be "business as usual" for the company.

However, IT analyst Robin Bloor said this was over optimistic. "You can't have been going to float without plans for what to do with the proceeds. There has got to be a massive rethink," he said.

One ICL IT professional working on the Post Office Pathway project told Computer Weekly that the failure to float was another blow to morale that was already rocky following "crap pay rises and lots of discontent because the new ICL work doesn't match the skills or interests of the existing staff".

However, the company said it has a strong order book, with two government contracts worth over £800m signed in recent months and first quarter operating profits ahead of market trends.

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