Electronics component distributor Abacus Polar Plc has improved margins at the half year stage but revenues have remained flat. The Newbury, UK-based company has reported net profits for the six months to March 31 up 9.6% at 3.2m pounds on revenues that remained the same at 46.6m pounds. The poor sales have been put down to intense competition and if the comparative figures for 1996 are adjusted to include Polar (purchased in December 1995) for the full six months, UK sales actually fell 10% on a like for like basis. In Scandinavia sales were down by 17.5% after adjusting for foreign currency translation despite an overall increase in the volume of components shipped. This demonstrates the price erosion which the group is battling against and although Abacus feel that the market has bottomed out, it’s too early for them to predict an upturn. In the mean time, the group remains cash generative allowing it to reduce its gearing and wait for trading conditions to improve. The board has declared an interim dividend of 2.0 pence per share, up 9.2% from last year but the shares fell 6 pence to 209 pence by midday.