Pi’s the limit for Premier in deal with Sony

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PREMIER Farnell has agreed a multi-million pound deal with Sony UK Technology Centre that will see the Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer, manufactured in the UK for the first time.

Leeds-based electronics distributor Premier Farnell, which employs around 900 people in the city, has been selling the device since February this year through its brands of Farnell element14 in Europe, Newark element14 in North America and element14 in Asia Pacific, and more recently through subsidiaries CPC in the UK and MCM Electronics in the US.

To date, Raspberry Pi has only been manufactured in China. The Sony UK Technology Centre will initially produce more than 300,000 units for customers across the world and is expected to create up to 30 extra jobs.

The British-designed product, which has been developed by the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, aims to stimulate young people’s interest in computer programming.

Mike Buffham, global head of EDE at Premier Farnell, said: “When it came to reviewing our manufacturing strategy we were always keen to bring the production of the Raspberry Pi to the UK. From the outset Sony UK Technology Centre demonstrated its enthusiasm for the product as well as its expertise in manufacturing.

“Their site is highly impressive and I am very confident that the team in Wales can deliver, providing us with a high-quality product, within our designated timeframe, all within budget. The Sony brand is known for its quality and to have its broadcast manufacturing site on board and building the Raspberry Pi product, within the UK, is very exciting.

“Since the Raspberry Pi was launched globally in February 2012 it has been a tremendous success story.”

Premier Farnell, a FTSE 250 company, said earlier this year that first-quarter adjusted pre-tax profits fell 13 per cent year-on-year to £20.9m on sales down five per cent to £241m.

The group sells products such as batteries, computer parts and security products to engineers in more than 100 countries.