Premier Farnell uptick signals tech spend rise

ELECTRONICS supplier Premier Farnell has signalled that technology firms’ spending is recovering this year after a subdued 2012.

The company, which sells everything from batteries to semiconductor elements, said that after a fall in sales last year, it had seen better trading in recent weeks. The news sent shares in the FTSE 250 firm up 2.91 per cent yesterday.

“Whilst we have limited visibility and current market conditions continue to be uncertain, the new financial year has started positively,” Premier Farnell chief executive Laurence Bain said.

For the 53 weeks to 3 February, the company posted revenues of £952m, which was down 2.8 per cent on the previous year when adjusted for the financial year’s extra week. Pre-tax profit fell by a third to £70.6m, and the company’s biggest sales decline were in the Americas, with the UK down 5.3 per cent. The company has focused on emerging markets to buck slowdowns in its core territories.

Premier Farnell did, however, receive a small boost from the success of the Raspberry Pi mini computer, with revenues from the product picking up during the final quarter to £6.8m. The company has previously said that the excitement regarding the product has boosted sales of its other products.

Panmure Gordon analyst Andy Brown said that despite suggestions of an uptick, recent manufacturing data suggests a difficult year ahead.