Blackburn interactive whiteboard firm Promethean reveals £165m loss

First published in Blackburn Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A FIRM that produces and sells interactive whiteboards all over the world has announced pre-tax losses of more than £165million.

Promethean in Blackburn has seen sales plummet almost 30 per cent in two years.

Shares at the Whiteburk Industrial Estate-based firm, which were 200p in 2010, were 17.9p yesterday.

Bosses at the firm, which employs 257 people in Black- burn and 670 worldwide, said there would be no redundancies as the company planned to become cash-generative in the future.

Chief executive Jim Marshall said the figures for 2012 were expected to be worse than they actually were and after cutting costs by 18.5 per cent and increasing their range of products they were hopeful of a bright future.

He said: “Market conditions were tough throughout 2012, and continue to be so, with education budgets remaining under pressure and increased competition for interactive hardware technology.

“This is reflected in our results for the year.

“Against this backdrop, we maintained strong cash management and took rapid action to implement a cost reduction programme and streamline our operations.

“Full year operating costs were down 18.5 per cent and, in the second half, they were down 37.5 per cent.

“The full benefits of these cost reductions will be felt in 2013.”

Mr Marshall said despite cutting costs the firm was still able to research and develop new products.

He said: “Promethean is responding to a rapidly changing market with multiple initiatives to build on our presence as an education solutions provider “It will take time for the impact of our software initiatives to be felt and 2013 will be a year of transition in this respect.

“We expect market conditions to remain tough.

“We will therefore continue managing our business prudently to protect our profitability and cash flows.”

Comments (13)

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6:36pm Thu 28 Feb 13

phil kernot says...

I think this company was all hyped up got left behind with the technology , how can you make a loss of that much , shares are just paper at the end of the day , or was the valuation all on paper .... Hyped up company
I think this company was all hyped up got left behind with the technology , how can you make a loss of that much , shares are just paper at the end of the day , or was the valuation all on paper .... Hyped up company phil kernot
  • Score: -2

7:22pm Thu 28 Feb 13

happycyclist says...

Gotta give 'em credit for their belief that they can turn it around and are reluctant to make redundancies.
Gotta give 'em credit for their belief that they can turn it around and are reluctant to make redundancies. happycyclist
  • Score: 7

8:04pm Thu 28 Feb 13

burner says...

I suppose the problem is that their product was fantastic and innovative back in 2003 when schools were just buying into this new technology. But now every classroom in Britain is equipped ( no more chalk / talk / and marker pens ). As for an overseas market . . . we all know labour is cheaper elsewhere . that's an unfortunate fact.
.
Interactive whiteboards were an incredible revolution back then and Promethean turned out a fantastic product. Now the Asian markets have a foothold. I wish their optimism were truly realistic.
I suppose the problem is that their product was fantastic and innovative back in 2003 when schools were just buying into this new technology. But now every classroom in Britain is equipped ( no more chalk / talk / and marker pens ). As for an overseas market . . . we all know labour is cheaper elsewhere . that's an unfortunate fact. . Interactive whiteboards were an incredible revolution back then and Promethean turned out a fantastic product. Now the Asian markets have a foothold. I wish their optimism were truly realistic. burner
  • Score: 3

9:10pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Graham Hartley says...

The software initiative in education solution provision is an impulse felt just as strongly in India as it is in Blackburn. UK companies have staff working in India to support such initiatives, which is a remarkable claim given the wearying assault of 'can we do it via internet?' management. All of this I know from first-hand; and so does Promethean.
The software initiative in education solution provision is an impulse felt just as strongly in India as it is in Blackburn. UK companies have staff working in India to support such initiatives, which is a remarkable claim given the wearying assault of 'can we do it via internet?' management. All of this I know from first-hand; and so does Promethean. Graham Hartley
  • Score: 0

11:23pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Major Tom says...

Hey up! Blackbun with Darwin success story bubble about to burst. BANG!!!!! These things might have been great in an era of pen and paper but iPads are the here and now, not great big tv screens for silly drawings.
Hey up! Blackbun with Darwin success story bubble about to burst. BANG!!!!! These things might have been great in an era of pen and paper but iPads are the here and now, not great big tv screens for silly drawings. Major Tom
  • Score: -5

7:59am Fri 1 Mar 13

burner says...

Obviously, Tom, you have zero clue how a teacher would use an interactive whiteboard. The students use the i-pads, OK : but the teacher demonstrates and explains on the main screen. Your adjective, "silly", refers to YOU !!
Obviously, Tom, you have zero clue how a teacher would use an interactive whiteboard. The students use the i-pads, OK : but the teacher demonstrates and explains on the main screen. Your adjective, "silly", refers to YOU !! burner
  • Score: 0

9:56am Fri 1 Mar 13

Izanears says...

phil kernot wrote:
I think this company was all hyped up got left behind with the technology , how can you make a loss of that much , shares are just paper at the end of the day , or was the valuation all on paper .... Hyped up company
I can't agree more phil.
One minute the ET carries a boom story, the next the company is in trouble.
Sadly there are many more that will go the same way.
[quote][p][bold]phil kernot[/bold] wrote: I think this company was all hyped up got left behind with the technology , how can you make a loss of that much , shares are just paper at the end of the day , or was the valuation all on paper .... Hyped up company[/p][/quote]I can't agree more phil. One minute the ET carries a boom story, the next the company is in trouble. Sadly there are many more that will go the same way. Izanears
  • Score: -1

10:15am Fri 1 Mar 13

woolywords says...

As someone who both dabbles in shares and has a great love of technology in all of it's forms, this news is both a shock and a surprise. This company has had to take some really hard knocks since it's launch on the market back in 2010. The product itself is as you would expect from anything produced in Blackburn, world class. However, that said, it launched on the precipice of an economic downturn that has seen spending on education take a dive that is mirrored by it's share price.
Apart from SMART in Canada, I can think of no really serious rival to their products and know that these are just a few little teething problems for the infant company.
Have any of you that comment, ever seen this product in action? Well, I suggest that you do, because it is like seeing something from Star Trek and we all know about what appeared there has become everyday items. Flip communicators became mobile phones, phasers became tasers. This product is cast in the same mould, set to become a standard, with many more applications than it's current uses. I'd have one in an heartbeat, if they sort out the size/weight problem, which will happen.
LT is doing this firm no favours by not asking for an opinion from Tony Cann, with his near 80 million shareholding. He doesn't appear to be wanting to dump any stock but is buying, so he might know something.
Of course, I'm buying too, would be silly not to, as the trend can only be upwards from this point on.
As someone who both dabbles in shares and has a great love of technology in all of it's forms, this news is both a shock and a surprise. This company has had to take some really hard knocks since it's launch on the market back in 2010. The product itself is as you would expect from anything produced in Blackburn, world class. However, that said, it launched on the precipice of an economic downturn that has seen spending on education take a dive that is mirrored by it's share price. Apart from SMART in Canada, I can think of no really serious rival to their products and know that these are just a few little teething problems for the infant company. Have any of you that comment, ever seen this product in action? Well, I suggest that you do, because it is like seeing something from Star Trek and we all know about what appeared there has become everyday items. Flip communicators became mobile phones, phasers became tasers. This product is cast in the same mould, set to become a standard, with many more applications than it's current uses. I'd have one in an heartbeat, if they sort out the size/weight problem, which will happen. LT is doing this firm no favours by not asking for an opinion from Tony Cann, with his near 80 million shareholding. He doesn't appear to be wanting to dump any stock but is buying, so he might know something. Of course, I'm buying too, would be silly not to, as the trend can only be upwards from this point on. woolywords
  • Score: 0

10:20am Fri 1 Mar 13

woolywords says...

burner wrote:
Obviously, Tom, you have zero clue how a teacher would use an interactive whiteboard. The students use the i-pads, OK : but the teacher demonstrates and explains on the main screen. Your adjective, "silly", refers to YOU !!
Good point, but I can only find a demo from their rivals.

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=DjdNPMZJb
Ls
[quote][p][bold]burner[/bold] wrote: Obviously, Tom, you have zero clue how a teacher would use an interactive whiteboard. The students use the i-pads, OK : but the teacher demonstrates and explains on the main screen. Your adjective, "silly", refers to YOU !![/p][/quote]Good point, but I can only find a demo from their rivals. http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=DjdNPMZJb Ls woolywords
  • Score: 0

11:20am Fri 1 Mar 13

prometheanMan says...

happycyclist wrote:
Gotta give 'em credit for their belief that they can turn it around and are reluctant to make redundancies.
Yep... I mean there's been a massive number of redundancies over the last few months, but apart from that!
[quote][p][bold]happycyclist[/bold] wrote: Gotta give 'em credit for their belief that they can turn it around and are reluctant to make redundancies.[/p][/quote]Yep... I mean there's been a massive number of redundancies over the last few months, but apart from that! prometheanMan
  • Score: 3

1:11pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Graham Hartley says...

"Have any of you that comment, ever seen this product in action?"

Yes, wooly; and one gets only one chance to make a first impression. The capability and interest of the operator are important factors. Developing material for these environments is such fun for me, and I feel lucky to find the same fun in presentation.
"Have any of you that comment, ever seen this product in action?" Yes, wooly; and one gets only one chance to make a first impression. The capability and interest of the operator are important factors. Developing material for these environments is such fun for me, and I feel lucky to find the same fun in presentation. Graham Hartley
  • Score: 0

1:11pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Kevin, Colne says...

woolywords wrote:
As someone who both dabbles in shares and has a great love of technology in all of it's forms, this news is both a shock and a surprise. This company has had to take some really hard knocks since it's launch on the market back in 2010. The product itself is as you would expect from anything produced in Blackburn, world class. However, that said, it launched on the precipice of an economic downturn that has seen spending on education take a dive that is mirrored by it's share price.
Apart from SMART in Canada, I can think of no really serious rival to their products and know that these are just a few little teething problems for the infant company.
Have any of you that comment, ever seen this product in action? Well, I suggest that you do, because it is like seeing something from Star Trek and we all know about what appeared there has become everyday items. Flip communicators became mobile phones, phasers became tasers. This product is cast in the same mould, set to become a standard, with many more applications than it's current uses. I'd have one in an heartbeat, if they sort out the size/weight problem, which will happen.
LT is doing this firm no favours by not asking for an opinion from Tony Cann, with his near 80 million shareholding. He doesn't appear to be wanting to dump any stock but is buying, so he might know something.
Of course, I'm buying too, would be silly not to, as the trend can only be upwards from this point on.
I have to say in all fairness to you that I am not sure that this news is a shock or a surprise because for some time the company has been warning of difficult trading conditions; and this is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. Since the flotation of the company in 2010 the destruction of shareholder value has been pretty comprehensive: from £2 to 17p.

I hope that this company prospers for this would be good news for the employees and Blackburn.

I will willingly admit to you that from an investor standpoint whenever I look at this business I always end-up putting it in the bucket labeled ‘Too hard’. This does not mean that the stock is not worth buying, it just signifies that I’m too thick to work-out whether it is.
[quote][p][bold]woolywords[/bold] wrote: As someone who both dabbles in shares and has a great love of technology in all of it's forms, this news is both a shock and a surprise. This company has had to take some really hard knocks since it's launch on the market back in 2010. The product itself is as you would expect from anything produced in Blackburn, world class. However, that said, it launched on the precipice of an economic downturn that has seen spending on education take a dive that is mirrored by it's share price. Apart from SMART in Canada, I can think of no really serious rival to their products and know that these are just a few little teething problems for the infant company. Have any of you that comment, ever seen this product in action? Well, I suggest that you do, because it is like seeing something from Star Trek and we all know about what appeared there has become everyday items. Flip communicators became mobile phones, phasers became tasers. This product is cast in the same mould, set to become a standard, with many more applications than it's current uses. I'd have one in an heartbeat, if they sort out the size/weight problem, which will happen. LT is doing this firm no favours by not asking for an opinion from Tony Cann, with his near 80 million shareholding. He doesn't appear to be wanting to dump any stock but is buying, so he might know something. Of course, I'm buying too, would be silly not to, as the trend can only be upwards from this point on.[/p][/quote]I have to say in all fairness to you that I am not sure that this news is a shock or a surprise because for some time the company has been warning of difficult trading conditions; and this is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. Since the flotation of the company in 2010 the destruction of shareholder value has been pretty comprehensive: from £2 to 17p. I hope that this company prospers for this would be good news for the employees and Blackburn. I will willingly admit to you that from an investor standpoint whenever I look at this business I always end-up putting it in the bucket labeled ‘Too hard’. This does not mean that the stock is not worth buying, it just signifies that I’m too thick to work-out whether it is. Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

2:26pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Noiticer says...

An excellent product which has revolutionised classrooms but is now suffering directly from the public spending cuts and saturation of the UK market. Only answer - look for exports in an EU which also in the grip of the austerity politicos. Not much to be optimistic about really!
An excellent product which has revolutionised classrooms but is now suffering directly from the public spending cuts and saturation of the UK market. Only answer - look for exports in an EU which also in the grip of the austerity politicos. Not much to be optimistic about really! Noiticer
  • Score: 1

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