Asia sales spur on Electro

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ELECTRONIC parts supplier Electrocomponents posted a 4 per cent rise in revenue for the most recent four months, spearheaded by growth in Asia.

Electrocomponents, which sells products ranging from batteries and cables to safety equipment, 70 per cent outside the UK, said yesterday that group revenue for the four months to January 31 was helped by a 5 per cent rise in overseas sales, with Asia Pacific up 7 per cent.

Revenue growth has slowed over the year, however, coming down from 14 and 8 per cent in its first and second quarters against a backdrop of tough global economic conditions and weak consumer confidence.

Panmure Gordon analyst Andy Brown said the firm had, nevertheless, managed itself well in difficult circumstances: “The trading update indicates that the group continues to make solid progress in what remain tough markets.”

Better prospects could be on the horizon after recent Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data showed a pick-up in activity in January, with orders growing and firms taking on more workers.

“UK, Germany, US, China and Japan are above 50, which means expansion, so the big markets look like they are getting a bit more confident,” chief executive Ian Mason said.

“The PMIs are a good indicator, and the fact they are getting better I like, but I’m not going to make any predictions that it is going to flow through yet.”

Electrocomponents said group sales in January slowed to 1 per cent, with growth at its overseas business offset by a flat performance in the UK.

In December, rival Premier Farnell reported a 1 per cent dip in third-quarter sales.