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DT
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LONDON (SHARECAST) - Hornby reported a big rise in full year profits today and said the new financial year has started well.

The Model Railway and Scalextric maker announced pre-tax profit before goodwill amortisation up 16% to £7.5m during the 12 months to 31 March on turnover 15% higher at £45m.

Hornby said that interest among its core customer base of hobbyists remains strong, giving it protection against a weaker economic climate.

Its mix of distribution channels in the UK means it is not reliant on a few dominant retailers and is able to retain its pricing power, chairman Neil Johnson added.

The first half of the new financial year will see a decrease in pre-tax profit though until sales revenues begin flowing at Italian model railway acquisition Lima in the autumn.

Chief executive Frank Martin said, "The Group has made excellent progress in its strategy to create a broader base to its hobby activities."

"We have reached an important stage in the Group's development and I am convinced that we will be able to repeat the process of re-invigorating the performance of the international markets as we have done in the UK," he added.

[Ed: Good for Hornby
]

More info:

Net income for the year ended March 31 climbed to 5.16 million pounds ($9.4 million)

finally:

"We are conscious that some retailers are reporting the impact of wider economic pressures but the hobby-based characteristics of our products lend resilience in such times and market feedback remains encouraging," Hornby said in a statement.

"We are delighted that in Spain, the largest per capita slot car racing market in the world, we have the exclusive rights to use images of Fernando Alonso, the Spanish Formula 1 star, and Sete Gibernau, the MotoGP motorbike rider, on our slot racing packaging," it added.
 

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Hornby have announced today that they will be unveiling their new Digital Command and Control system to the public early in 2006, and more than likely this will have a first appearance at the London Toy Fair.

Now bearing in mind that Hornby have been fitting chip modules that comply with international standards to their locomotives for sime time now it is clear that the new Hornby DCC system will be compatible with existing standards.

Earlier in the week Hornby revealed that their new control system will be based on mobile phone technology and Doug has mentioned this in a topic in the Digital section at Model Rail Forum.

Now we can speculate that this suggests a wire free control module that resembles in size a mobile phone which then sends signals to a receiver that converts the message to a control command for the layout.

And we can also speculate that the whole DCC system might be wire free and module based with each module sending and receiving messages through the airwaves. Hornby have some experiance of this with their Scalextric "Challenger" car and their Thomas The Tank Engine radio control set.

This will make for a very quick and simple installation of DCC to any layout.

With the PC computer experiance that Hornby have with their Virtual Railway software it also seems likely that a PC based control set up will be one option that may well be available using bluetooth or some other form of banded signal.

All in all I cannot wait!

If any of you have any thoughts on this subject then you are invited to have a look at Doug's own views in the DCC section and offer your comments and opinions.

And I know that we have a number of friends from the USA at Model Rail Forum and these are the guys that are streets ahead of the UK and Europe in the digital control world so we would be very interested in comments from the folk who are digitally street wise!


Happy modelling
Gary
 
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