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30 July 2004
The Herald
Software firm Graham plans major expansion of US sales

GRAHAM Technology, which nearly trebled its profits during the year to March 2004, is aiming to significantly expand sales in the US during the coming 12 months following the opening of an office in Boston.

Mairi McLelland, managing director at Graham, said the Scottish software company was forecasting sales of (pounds) 1.5m in the US in the current financial year. This compares to sales of 583,000 last time, which in turn accounted for less than 4% of Graham's total turnover.

'We see America as being a major market in the future,' said McLelland. However, the biggest growth in the short term is expected to come from Graham's more mature markets in the UK and Asia.

During the year to March, Graham posted turnover of nearly 15.2m, up from 10.6m. This led to pre-tax profits of (pounds) 3.1m, against 1.1m before.

Headquartered at Inchinnan, where it employs 155 of its 220 staff, Graham Technology makes a software package called GT-X that helps large corporations handle their customer service requirements. It is used in a variety of industries ranging from utilities and public sector bodies to retailers and pharmaceutical companies.

Iain Graham, majority owner and chief executive, said last year's increase in sales came mainly through winning new customers by word-of-mouth. The company, set up by Graham and his wife Sheena in 1986, has a relatively small sales and marketing team due to be beefed up in coming months.

The group's accounts show R&D spending of 1.3m last year. That figure will rise in line with Graham's sales, which are expected to reach 20m in the current financial year.

Pay to directors rose from 624,000 to 946,000 following the appointment of McLelland and two others to the board in June of last year.

The highest-paid director, former head of sales and marketing Mark Camilleri, received total emoluments of 275,000 last year. This was up from 151,000 previously, although much of this increase was in the form of bonuses for meeting sales targets.

Australian-born Camilleri, who was on a two-year contract with Graham, completed his stint with the company and resigned from the board in February to return to Australia.

During the year, Iain and Sheena Graham received a total of 137,000 for rent on properties that they own but which are used by the company. Killochries Fold, a partnership controlled by the couple, was paid a further 1m for consultancy, building work and aircraft usage.

Other related-party transactions include 115,000 paid to companies where David Lyons - a non-executive at Graham - was either a director or partner, plus an additional 47,000 in fees paid to Lyons directly. A further 33,000 in fees were paid to an accountancy firm in which Brian Fox - a non -executive at Graham - was a partner.

KRISTY DORSEY



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