Electronic parts group hurt by Europe slump

ELECTROCOMPONENTS yesterday reported a 19 per cent drop in full-year pre-tax profit, hurt by weak international demand, particularly in continental Europe.

However, the British electronic parts supplier -- whose products range from mobile phone accessories to thermometers -- said sales grew one per cent in the first seven weeks of the new financial year, led mainly by the company’s business outside the UK.

And the popularity of the Raspberry Pi computer has lifted British sales. The boards were launched last year and aimed at teaching the basics of computer programming.

Headline pre-tax profit fell to £98.7m in the year ended 31 March from £122.3m a year earlier.

The firm blamed some of this on fewer trading days and currency movements. Revenue declined slightly to £1.24bn.

Chief executive Ian Mason said he was hopeful that the firm can build up its market share and profitability over the next few years.

“This has been a year of significant change for the group. We have successfully implemented a new global operating model and set a common global strategy,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Analysts at Canaccord Genuity, which has a ‘buy’ rating on Electrocomponents’ stock, said the results were in line with forecasts, but that tough trading conditions have led them to cut their forecast for the coming year by seven to 14 per cent.

Shares in the FTSE 250-listed group fell 3.63 per cent yesterday.