CLIVE SINCLAIR is now officially worth more than £120 million. The private placing of shares, announced at the launch of the Spectrum, has now been settled with a value of £136 million being put on Sinclair Research, of which his personal share is about 85 percent.
A number of unnamed financial institutions, believed to be about 30, have agreed to buy 400,000 shares at £34 each, which is a total of £13.6 million for 10 percent of the company. The sale was heavily oversubscribed.
The latest figures available show that in the year to March, 1982 Sinclair Research made a profit of almost £10 million on sales of £27.6 million. It is expected that profit for the year to March this year will rise to £14 million.
It is believed the company would like a full stock market listing within the next year.
Most of the money raised will be used to finance work on the Sinclair electric car. The extra cash is needed to ensure that resources do not have to be diverted from computers.
THE likelihood of a strike about redundancies at the Timex factory in Dundee was receding as we went to press. A growing number of workers have said they are willing to take voluntary redundancy and early retirement to cut the workforce.
The company is seeking to reduce the workforce to about half its present size because of a fall in the demand for watches and the loss of the Nimslo contract. Sinclair production is not directly affected.
If a strike is called, Sinclair Research has said that it will switch production to a number of other plants. A spokesman for the company emphasised that was not an idle threat and that it had plans for moving production at a moment's notice.
He added that he could not say where the plants were, as they might never be needed, but added that a number of companies with spare capacity had the necessary expertise to allow them to make the Sinclair machines.
The rumour that production may be moved to the French plant of an associate company of Timex was denied firmly.
For some time Thorn-EMI at Feltham, Middlesex, has been producing Spectrums but the wider range of alternative sources was not set up until the strike at Dundee in November.
SINCLAIR RESEARCH is aiming to prove that the 48K Spectrum can be used as a serious business machine. The company is developing a software package which will transform the Spectrum into what it hopes will be a powerful word processor.
The word processor will be capable of driving a dot matrix printer. To do that it will have to be connected to the Sinclair RS232 serial interface which is to be launched later this year.
The program allows text to be typed-in from the keyboard and then edited by moving the cursor around the screen. The finished text can then be output to large printers or the Sinclair thermal printer.
The display created by the word processing program will be 62 characters in one line and, through proportional spacing, text can be justified down the left- and right-hand sides of the screen.
THE FIRST major Sinclair show of the year is being held on Saturday, February 26. The ZX Microfair is at the usual venue, the New Horticultural Hall, Westminster, between 10am and 6pm.
The organiser, Mike Johnston, says that the last show, held in December, drew around 7,000 people and was the best ever from the point of view of exhibitors.
The second Northern Computer Fair is to be held on March 12 at Pudsey Civic Centre, Stanningly - it lies between Leeds and Bradford. Northern Premier Exhibitions says the show is generating a good deal of interest.
On March 19 the Bristol Hobbyist Microfair will be held by British Telecoms Computer Club. The show will take place at Horfield Territorial Army Centre, Bristol and will be open from 10.30am to 5.30pm.
The Association of London Computer Clubs is staging its annual show, the Fourth London Computer Fair, between April 13 and 16. The show will be held at Central Hall, Westminster, former venue for ZX Microfairs. It is co-sponsored by the GLC as part of the London Computer Festival.
Microscene Hallam '83 will be at the Top Rank Suite, Sheffield on Saturday, April 16. The doors should be open from 9.30am to 5.00pm.
The Scottish Personal Computer World Show is to be staged from April 16-18 at MacRoberts Pavilion, Edinburgh. It follows the successful London show which, the sponsors claim, attracted more than 47,000 people.
A SPECTACULAR sales boom occurred among retailers and mail order wholesalers during the Christmas period.
Stewart Biddie, merchandise controller for W H Smith said: "Sales have been incredible since the price drop of the ZX-81 and we have had difficulty in keeping sufficient stocks. The sale of software for the ZX-81 at Christmas went very well and there is no need to say how the new Spectrum lines of software have been selling.
"The number of branches selling the Spectrum has increased because of the demand and it is being sold at 200 branches, including the 65 where it was sold originally."
Prism Microproducts, wholesale distributor of Sinclair machines and software and sister company of ECC Publications, also had a good Christmas.Bob Denton, Prism managing director, said: "It was a computer Christmas and sales of hardware and software have gone well."
The major software houses also reported a boom in business. Douglas Berne of Silversoft said: "Things took off at the beginning of November and stayed the same well into January."
Richard Turner of Artic Computing told a similar story. "We had an incredible response and the big problem has been keeping up stocks. The demand is still heavy but we are almost back to normal."
SPECTRUMS are now on general retail sale. From February 21, Prism Microproducts, a sister company to ECC Publications which publishes Sinclair User, has been handling the retail distribution of the latest Sinclair machine.
The move is part of a wide-ranging effort to make the full range of Sinclair products more available to the public.
Prism has appointed a procurement agency to deal with assessing software and hardware products in the market for general distribution. The company is also considering adopting a new system for selling on what is known as the rack-jobbing system.
The system is being tested in the London area in March and April and, if successful, will be extended to all of Britain. Bob Denton of Prism Microproducts says:
"This will provide a better service because users will see a broader selection".
THE TYPICAL reader of Sinclair User is aged between 10 and 45, is likely to earn less than £10,000 and is almost certain to have one of the Sinclair computers. That is revealed in the survey we conducted in the autumn.
We had an excellent response, with more than 4,000 people replying.
The readership is fairly evenly spread across the ages up to 45, with 29 percent being under 16; 21 per cent between 16 and 25; 20 percent between 26 and 35; and 16 percent between 36 and 45. Of those of employable age the vast majority had a job, with the highest percentage earning between £5,000 and £10,000.
Our survey revealed that 34 percent had had their machines for between one and six months. Almost 30 percent, however, had bought the machines between six months and a year ago. All those dates can be increased by at least three months since the survey. At the time only four percent of readers were waiting for delivery of an ordered machine.
Mail order was the most popular method of purchase by all age groups, apart from the those under 16, who preferred to go to W H Smith. The second-hand market was healthy, with seven percent of readers buying that way.
THE LONDON Borough of Camden is one of the first local authorities to launch into the microcomputer scene. A club for the owners of various microcomputers, including the ZX-81 and Spectrum, has been started at Queen's Crescent Library, Camden. Meetings are held every week on Tuesdays at 7.30 pm.
The library department of Camden expressed interest in promoting microcomputer literacy through computer clubs in its libraries and the council hopes that the club will be the first of many in the borough.
Will Jackson, one of the organisers, says: "I own a ZX-81 and now have a Spectrum. I saw a need for a club which could exploit British machines, like many of the courses in this country which use American machines such as the Pet or Vic-20.
"There are not sufficient books which explain computing in a way beginners can understand. I am no expert at computing but I know something about Basic and other areas of computing through a course I did several years ago."
According to Jackson, the club should be of interest to people of all ages and professions. The use of microcomputers for serious applications will also be explored, so the more advanced programmers will have something to do.