'Watershed' year hits Premier Farnell profit

‘Watershed’ year hits Premier Farnell profit
Alex Mayhew-Smith Catalogue distributor Premier Farnell has been hit by difficult trading conditions in both its main US and UK markets, seeing pre-tax profits fall by 20 per cent in the year ended January 1999. “The past year has been a watershed for the group,” said company chairman Sir Malcolm Bates. “Whilst these results reflect difficult trading in the main UK and US businesses, a review of the group’s activities has produced a sound strategy which is planned to deliver profitable growth over the next three years.” Sales were down five per cent to ?705m from ?743.6m a year ago. The group’s catalogue businesses felt the pressure of squeezed margins particularly on semiconductor products. In this area, sales were down six per cent at ?492m, and the company said that operating margins had fallen to 18.3 per cent from over 21 per cent in the previous year.

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