New Premier Farnell chief in cautious mood

City A.M. Reporter
ELECTRONIC parts distributor Premier Farnell posted a slip in first-quarter profit yesterday as slowing sales in North America hurt progress made across Asia and in choppy European markets.

Premier Farnell, which said goodbye to outgoing chief executive Harriet Green earlier this week after she left to join tour operator Thomas Cook next month, said first-quarter adjusted pre-tax profit slipped 13 per cent to £20.9m on sales down five per cent at £241m.

The group, which sells products such as batteries, computer parts and security products to engineers in over 100 countries, said sales in both Europe and Asia Pacific were up by 2.1 and 8.5 per cent respectively from the fourth quarter but North America fell 2.7 per cent.

Sales in Europe, its biggest market, fell 7.3 per cent year-on-year hurt by Eurozone turbulence.

“Global quarterly sales per day have been maintained at a stable level since the decline in the global electronics and technology markets that impacted us in June last year,” said new chief executive Laurence Bain.

“As comparators become easier from the middle of the year and with the benefit of a 53rd week we expect growth to return in the second half. However as we have limited forward visibility and in light of the economic outlook we remain cautious,” he added.

In March the firm posted a slip in profit for its 2011 to 2012 fiscal year, missing analyst expectations.

Shares in Premier Farnell rose by 3.7 per cent yesterday to close at 158.8p, valuing the company at £578m.