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By | Paul Kunert 9th August 2012 11:18

Dragons' Den badboy's Expansys back in the black ... just

Networks and wireless op 'suffered' in UK

Wireless tech web retailer and provider of mobile networks Expansys is back in the black – but only just – as currency headwinds, weak UK consumer spending and restructuring took a toll.

The group, majority owned (41 per cent) by Dragons' Den investor Peter Jones, pushed up sales for the year ended 30 April by a third to £108.5m.

It posted underlying profit before tax of £4.3m and operating profits of £1.9m compared to losses of £725,000 in the previous year.

But strip out tax of £1.478m and £396,000 in foreign exchange conversions and the net profit was just £39,000, albeit a vast improvement on the £1.18m loss in fiscal 2011.

"Management have addressed historical issues against a backdrop of economic headwinds and some difficult industry dynamics," said chairman Bob Wigley in a statement.

In June last year, Expansys relocated offices from Manchester to Marlow in Buckinghamshire, but most of the staff refused to up sticks and move home or travel the daily 286-mile round trip.

The firm moved to premises owned by Jones that already housed subsidiaries PJ Media, an e-commerce solution provider, and SIM card distie Data Select Network Solutions (DSNS).

Expansys's retail biz grew revenues 24 per cent on a like-for-like basis to £82.7m with sales growth in Europe - 62 per cent of turnover - flat, but up by high double digits in Asia and the US.

The division made an operating loss of £1.2m, compared to a loss of £1.7m a year earlier but excluding exceptional items – for-ex losses and inter-company charges – the loss was £100,000 compared to a profit of £400,000 in fiscal 2011.

The UK online outfit "suffered significantly" due to the economic challenges and staff relocation, Expansys said.

"This has a negative effort upon the operation, which made a loss for the year. However, trading since Christmas has been more encouraging," Expansys said.

Sim card distie DSNS's revenues climbed 41 per cent to £23.1m and an adjusted operating profit of £5.9m in the UK and £50,000 in the US. Sales at PJ Media were up 15 per cent to £2.7m and operating profit was £600,000. ®

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