Premier Farnell Plc, the Wetherby, UK-based catalogue distributor of electronic components has seen increased sales in local currency terms across all of its operating divisions, but the interim results have come in at the low end of market expectations, causing the shares to drop 24.5 pence to 526.5 pence. The shares had originally jumped 10 pence on Friday in advance of the results. Sales for the first half to August 3 fell by 15.1% overall to 375.5m pounds due to translation effects and the disposal last year of the high volume, low-margin Farnell Electronic Services division. The company is claiming an underlying organic growth rate of 5%, and net profits climbed 23% to 36.9m pounds. The global catalogue distribution business, which now accounts for more than 70% of the group’s revenue and profits, experienced a modest improvement in market conditions the company said. North American sales in this division were up 3.5% in the period at constant exchange rates, compared to growth of 6.0% in Europe and the rest of the world. Premier Farnell says it now operates either directly or indirectly in every single country in the world bar Libya and Iran, making it the world’s biggest distributor of electronic components. The board has declared an interim dividend up 9.6% at 5.7 pence per share.
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